Fundamental research on cell morphogenesis
The goal of our research is to elucidate how cells establish their particular morphology and internal organization in order to perform their given functions. We aim to take a broad and multidisciplinary approach to this problem and use different organisms to identify general principles controlling cell morphogenesis. One hallmark of our work is to integrate and develop state of the art quantitative approaches, such as micro-fabrication, mathematical modeling and image analysis tools to address basic questions in morphogenesis. To reach these goals we combine expertise from different fields including chemistry, biology and physics. The current main research area of our team include:
1. The study of cell division positioning during early embryogenesis and in developing tissues. In these projects we perform experimental work using sea urchin embryonic cleavages as a quantitative model system. We also develop computational models to understand mechanisms of spindle orientation in other developing tissues or embryos of different species.
2. The study of the emergence of cell polarity and cell shape in single-celled organisms. In these projects we use the rod-shape fission yeast Schizosaccarhomyces pombe and perform quantitative experiments to elucidate how spatial order emerges in these model unicellular eukaryotes.