Developmental Patterning of Cell Division

Our life begins with a single cell, fertilized egg, that divides to form 37.2 trillion cells consisting of our body. In the course of cell proliferation, orientation and timing of cell division need to be orchestrated to ensure proper tissue and organ formation. Our goal is to uncover molecular basis underlying the developmental patterning of cell division.

Individual cells in the developing animal receive diverse sets of physical and chemical information/cues. However, the causal relationship between these cues and timing/orientation outcomes of cell division remain largely unknown due to tissue complexity. We will tackle these problems by combining genetics, live-imaging, molecular biology, and tissue engineering.

Combined Stacks2

Embryogenesis of nematode Ascaris megalocephala (aka Parascaris equorum) Müller H., 1903
Cell division axes are oriented in diverse angles and timing are different between head and tail to shape embryo.

Our Model System

We primarily use Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system to analyze cell division control; they have invariant cell division orientation and timing among individuals, thereby allowing us to perform single-cell level quantitative analysis of cell division dynamics. As core cell division machineries are well-conserved among animals, our research should uncover the fundamental mechanisms that pattern animal cell division.