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Embryo development research

Embryo development research

My name is Michael Smutny, I’m Assistant
Professor at Warwick Medical School. My lab is interested in how the animal body
plan is shaped during embryonic development, so we’re using the zebra fish embryo as
a model system to address this question. In particular we’re interested in cell-cell
communication, how cells stick to each other and how they physically push-pull against
eachother and how this enables, for example, cell movement or a specification of cells
(which is the process of how cells change their identify to become more specialised). We hope that our discoveries will lead to
important insights into diseases. For example at the moment we’re currently investigating
mechanisms that are important to shape the early forebrain in the zebrafish embryo. So
if these mechanisms are not functioning properly and are not correctly in place it can lead
to malformation of the future brain. So studying these very early processes in the fish embryo
will hopefully be useful for us to better understand similar processes in human embryos
and related diseases such as common birth defects.

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