How to Build a Gliding Mammal: Deciphering the Positional Regulatory Code of Mammalian Skin
The lab is broadly interested in addressing two questions: (1) what are the genetic and developmental mechanisms by which form and structure are generated during vertebrate development? and (2) how are these processes modified during evolutionary time to produce the spectacular phenotypic diversity seen in nature?
We combine the study of emerging model organisms, because of their diverse, naturally occurring and ecologically relevant phenotypes, with traditional model species, because of the powerful molecular and genetic tools available, to explore questions relating to patterning and the evolution of novelty in mammalian skin. Mammalian skin is a powerful model because it exhibits remarkable diversity in structure and function within individuals and across species, it’s experimentally accessible/tractable, and the molecular mechanisms underlying its formation are well characterized.
We use a variety of approaches, including experimental embryology, genetics, genomics, imaging, and mathematical modeling to uncover the precise developmental mechanisms by which gene regulatory complexity is translated through cellular behaviors into specific outcomes.