Project 1. Dissecting the molecular basis of context-dependent orientation of cell division axes.

Cell divisions are arranged in diverse orientations during organogenesis and stem cell division to pattern tissue. However, it is not known how division axis diversity is generated and orchestrated. We recently found that a collective directional movement of cell cortex at cell surface—cortical flow—has a potential to create division axis diversity through orienting cells in different axes. Distinct cortical flows are activated by the three contact-dependent cues, physical contact, asymmetry of contacting cell sizes, and Wnt signal and results in the different division axis specification. But molecular and physical basis underlying the multimodal cortical flow regulations remains unknown (Sugioka and Bowerman., Developmental Cell 2018).

People involved in this project: Christina Hsu, Rain Xiong, Aoi Hiroyasu, Lixin Zhou

Funding sources: CIHR Project Grant, UBC


We will use quantitative imaging and genetics to approach these questions.

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Project 2. Understanding the context-dependent control of cell cycle timing.

How are cell division timings regulated and coordinated during organogenesis? We will address this question at the single-cell resolution by focusing on a very simple organ model—C. elegans intestine.

People involved in this project: Md Abu Taher

Funding sources: NSERC Discovery Grant, UBC

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Project 3. Development of a new single-cell sequencing method to dissect animal morphogenesis.

In collaboration with Drs. Geoff Shierenberg (UBC Math) and Nozomu Yachie (UBC SBME), this project aims to develop a new theory and an experimental method to dissect animal development using single cell RNA sequencing data.

Funding sources: UBC Faculty of Science


Project 4. Integrative analysis of cellular orientational order, fluid dynamics, and animal morphogenesis.

In collaboration with Drs. Jay Newby (U Alberta), Eric Cytrynbaum (UBC Math), and James Feng (UBC Math, CHBE) this project aims to develop a new theory and an experimental method to dissect and manipulate animal morphogenesis.

Funding sources: New Frontiers in Research Fund — Exploration Stream