Developmental Biology Program

The Developmental Biology Program at Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute focuses on mechanisms of genetic fate in early human development. Using computer, cellular and animal models, this team examines pattern formation, the process by which cells organize to form structures that develop into a normal body.

Our scientists are examining several key aspects of signal transduction, the method by which protein signals outside a cell cause changes in gene expression inside the cell nucleus. These signals are critical to normal development. Studying them allows scientists to uncover and understand the disturbances and disruptions in genes during development that may cause birth defects, cancer and other childhood diseases.


In addition to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, and postdoctoral and clinical fellows in the their labs, many of the Developmental Biology Program faculty members also teach in the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences at Northwestern University. 


Our laboratories are devoted to understanding the genetic mechanisms that underlie pattern formation and cell fate specification during development. The areas of particular interest include signal transduction pathways, transcription factor networks, and morphogenetic movements.

We utilize a variety of model systems, including newt, chick, zebrafish, mouse and rat. Embryo manipulation, imaging (including live cell imaging with multiphoton laser scanning microscopy), gene expression profiling, genomics, in situ hybridization and many other tools are applied to experiments that range from limb regeneration to genetic manipulation to cloning in pursuit of new knowledge.