The complexity of craniofacial development and the range of defects associated with it suggest that various loci and mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of cranioskeletal abnormalities. Craniosynostosis is a condition in which the bones of the cranial vault fuse prematurely. Studies in humans identified that the upregulation of FGF receptors has been associated with craniosynostosis syndromes. We aim to further explore the role of FGF receptors using the zebrafish animal model.
Our laboratory has an extensive background in skeletal biology research using the zebrafish model, Danio rerio, including investigating the mechanisms that drive spine defects. We are extending these elucidated principles to our current studies of craniofacial skeletal biology.
Current Research Projects
Mechanisms of Gene Regulation During Suture Morphogenesis
Through an innovative approach that integrates genetics with cell biology and live imaging techniques, we study craniofacial development and its maintenance throughout the life of the zebrafish. This model provides diverse advantages, including external development, genetically modifiable translucent embryos and efficient husbandry. By genetically modifying various molecular and cellular processes in the zebrafish embryo, our goal is to elucidate the basic mechanism of gene regulation during suture morphogenesis and perhaps define a novel mechanism of CS pathogenesis.