Embryology Research Unit
Mouse blastocysts, embryos from 3 to 3.5 days old
In the first few weeks following conception, when the embryo is made up of about a thousand cells, a blueprint of how the body will be put together is laid down.
Faults that occur during these early stages can have disastrous consequences for the health of the child and cause major birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, head malformations, congenital eye defects and neurological disorders such as Rett syndrome.
The goals of our research are to understand when and how the embryo develops in normal circumstances and to study how faults occur during abnormal development. We study how cells in the early mouse embryo move and become specialised, correlate this with the genes active in the cells and analyse the roles of specific genes in developmental processes.
We also use clinical information on genes known to cause birth defects in humans to produce mice with similar genetic problems so that we can more deeply analyse the effects of these genes in embryonic development.
For more information see the staff profiles and projects pages.