Our work is investigating the ways in which normal and abnormal embryonic, foetal and postnatal development impact on development, health and disease.

Up to 4% of babies are born with genetic conditions that are life-limiting or significantly affect their quality of life. For all babies, the prenatal environment, including exposure to drugs, cigarette smoking and maternal nutrition can cause birth defects or predispose individuals to disease and poor health in later life. Many diseases, including cancers, occur due to inappropriate reactivation of developmental mechanisms in postnatal life. Strategies for repairing or regenerating aging, damaged and diseased tissues, such as stem cell therapies and tissue engineering, are founded on understanding the developmental mechanisms that occur during embryogenesis. Diagnosis, prevention and treatment of birth abnormalities and disorders rooted in embryonic development will be at the forefront of medical science for the foreseeable future. Current research areas include:

  • Developmental origins of disorders
  • Genetic basis of disease
  • Stem cell and tissue engineering/repair
  • Early life factors, pregnancy outcomes and lifelong health
  • Endocytic trafficking of receptors and importance for signalling regulation
  • Control of gene expression at the level of RNA

This research is carried out using a range of model organisms (mouse, including transgenic mouse models, chicken, zebrafish, Xenopus and nematodes), human tissue, primary cells and cell lines and utilises both in vivo analyses and an array of in vitro assays.