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This site is intended to provide an outline of the research going on in the laboratory.

The methods and approaches we use combine biochemistry, cell biology, and developmental biology. The underlying problem is to understand the cellular signaling that is essential to transforming the fertilized egg into an individual. The principal model used is the sea urchin embryo; an ideal system to study the molecular basis of development.

We are investigating the role of specific signaling pathways that are activated early in development. Integrins are cell surface receptors that are expressed on the surface of embryonic cells minutes after fertilization and blocking this expression results in embryos failing to develop. One set of studies is focussed on determining the components of the signaling pathway and why the pathway is necessary. We are also investigating the signalling pathways involved in establishing the nervous system in sea urchins. During early cell divisions signaling pathways are activated that establish the major cell types. Specific regions of embryonic ectoderm form neurons and we are piecing together the signaling processes that specify and guide the development of the nervous system.

If you have questions or require further information please contact Robert Burke.