Genomes, Development & Evolution
We are interested in the genomic, cellular and developmental mechanisms that underpin the formation and evolution of animals. Our lab studies a wide range of marine invertebrates, some that have traits of economic value and others that act as models to address fundamental questions in biology and biomedicine.
1. The origin of animal complexity
The genome orchestrates the formation and maintenance of animal body plans. We seek to understand the nature and origin of the fundamental genomic rules governing animal multicellularity and complexity. Many of our studies focus on a simple marine sponge, and current research efforts include the analysis of development, stem cells and regeneration.
2. Functional genomics and evolution of biomineralization
The instructions to fabricate shells and skeletons of phenomenal strength, purity and beauty are encoded in the genomes of a wide range of animals. We investigate how genes and their products come together to direct the formation and patterning of the biominerals that build these structures. Some of these projects are in collaboration with industry partners with interests in the fabrication of materials of commercial value.
3. Marine invertebrate biology
We have a general interest in the life cycles of coral reef invertebrates, and currently study a range of organismal phenomena from molecular, cellular and developmental perspectives. Larval biology and metamorphosis are long-standing points of focus.