We are a developmental biology and biophysics lab interested in the universal process of cell sheet morphogenesis. Morphogenesis is essential for metazoan development and contributes to both wound healing and key developmental milestones (e.g. gastrulation, neural tube, heart and palate formation). We study the dorsal closure stage of embryogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to understand this biologically important tissue movement that is conserved across phylogeny (reviewed in Kiehart et al, Ann. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 2017 33:169-202). Our work employs an unusually diverse repertoire of interdisciplinary approaches including high- and super-resolution microscopy, genetic, bioinformatic, biophysical and biochemical strategies to interrogate the mechanics of closure and its regulation in native and genetically, biophysically or pharmacologically perturbed embryos.
Embryo ubiquitously expressing one copy of an actin marker with a second copy in engrailed-expressing stripes. (Franke et al., Curr Bio. 2005 Dec 24;15(24):2208-2221)