A cell generates an organism following embryogenesis. Our group investigates the regulatory mechanisms and general principles underlying animal embryogenesis, using C. elegans as a model. Our ultimate goal is to understand the regulation of embryogenesis at the systems level.
Distinct from strategies used in classic developmental genetics, our focus is not a specific developmental gene (e.g. Oct-4), a specific molecular pathway (e.g. Wnt), or a specific developmental process (e.g. cell polarity). We are treating individual cells as the functional and regulatory unit and applying systems biology strategies to investigate:
How genome information specifies cellular states?
How cellular states determine developmental functions?
In this context, we are asking:
Which genes regulate which developmental processes in which specific cells?
Which genes form stable cellular genetic networks in a spatiotemporal manner to guide embryogenesis?
How environmental factors interact with cellular genetic networks to affect embryogenesis?
How the embryo as a system buffers genetic and environmental noise to archive robustness?
We are addressing above questions using multidisciplinary approachincluding genetics, live imaging, functional genomics, phenomics and systems biology.