How does the vertebrate brain, the most complex tissue in the universe, develop from a simple sheet of cells into an organ with the unique ability of posing this question? We have set ourselves the task of understanding the secrets underlying the development of the brain. Our ability to manipulate and control these molecular and cellular processes will contribute to therapeutic approaches in health and disease of the brain, particularly in neurodevelopmental syndromes such as neural tube defects and Autism.
The field of developmental biology draws on technical and analytical skills from all major branches of biology and the molecular and biomedical sciences. Consequently developmental biologists become highly competent experimental and theoretical scientists.
Reverse molecular genetic approaches are used in combination with modern cell and gene imaging methods to understand multi-gene interactions in vivo and in real-time. Zebrafish and Xenopus animal models are used to examine the formation of the earliest axon pathways in the embryonic brain while the mouse olfactory system is investigated to query the more complex process of axon targeting during development and regeneration.