Embryogenesis is fascinating. Cells divide, migrate, and change shape; tissues grow, bend, and invaginate; until in some way, a whole organism arises with functional organs in place. How embryos create form and build themselves from a single cell remains one of the biggest questions in biology. My research focuses on a follow-up:

How does embryonic development evolve?

I want to understand the factors driving and shaping evolutionary change (and novelty) in early embryogenesis, from axial patterning to tissue morphogenesis. I’m currently investigating how the crosstalk between fate specification, epithelial morphogenesis, and tissue mechanics, played a role in the evolution of the head–trunk boundary of bilaterians.

Current projects

Research on evolutionary mechanobiology
Role of tissue mechanics in the evolution of development

Evolutionary mechanobiology and morphogenesis of the head–trunk boundary in flies and beyond

Patterning and morphogenesis of the head–trunk boundary

Cephalic furrow development and function in Drosophila

cephalic furrow genes
Early cell fate specification in annelids

Transcriptional profile of early blastomeres in Platynereis

Previous projects

Evolution of body segmentation in bilaterians

Molecular patterning of body boundaries in brachiopods

Ttra larva header
Mmem gastrula header
Evolution of cleavage patterns in spiralians

Cell lineage and molecular patterning in bryozoans

Evolution of bilateral symmetry in pentaradial echinoderms

Embryonic, larval, and juvenile development in sea biscuits

Clypeaster pluteus larva