Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Embryology Research Unit

The Embryology Unit studies how development occurs in order to understand what goes wrong in birth defects. Current research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of body patterning during mouse development.

Our research achievements include pioneering the application of micromanipulation and embryo culture for analysing mouse embryos and examining the development of the craniofacial structure and embryonic gut. The embryological analysis undertaken by our team at CMRI has enabled the construction of a series of fate-maps revealing the organisation of the basic body plan of the early embryo. This in-depth knowledge of cell differentiation during early embryogenesis laid the foundation for directing the differentiation of mouse stem cells into clinically useful cell types for therapy in regenerative medicine. Other current research is on the function of RNA binding protein and importin, a transporter of protein, in embryonic development.

“Embryonic development is orchestrated by genes expressed within the embryo. All are precisely controlled so that they are active in specific locations, participate in specific signalling pathways, and regulate the activities of other genes. The more we understand about their roles, the more we can comprehend the complexities of embryonic development and the congenital anomalies that arise when these genes are disrupted.” - Patrick Tam

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