Research in this area seeks to enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying normal organ development, and how these processes might be disrupted in disease states.

Vaughn Cleghon, PhD , is interested in understanding the role of protein kinases in development and disease. His lab uses molecular biology, tissue culture, Drosophila genetics and bioinformatics to better understand fundamental mechanisms involved in the regulation of protein kinase activity. Visit the Cleghon lab site.

Brian Gebelein, PhD , studies how the Hox genes specify distinct cell fates within the nervous system using the fruit fly as a model organism. His long-term goal is to use a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches to understand how Hox factors interact with neuronal transcription factors to regulate downstream target genes that pattern the nervous system and ultimately control cellular function and behavior. Visit the Gebelein lab site.

Rashmi Hegde, PhD , studies molecular mechanisms involved in embryonic organ development and how the aberrant functioning of these processes can lead to developmental disorders as well as adult disease states such as cancer. This knowledge is then utilized in the rational design of therapeutic strategies. We use a variety of experimental techniques including biochemistry, cell biology and structural biology. Visit the Hegde lab site.

Xinhua Lin, PhD , is interested in cell-cell signaling mechanisms that control tissue patterning during development. His research focuses on the role of heparan sulfate proteoglycans in morphogen distribution and signaling. He also studies the molecular mechanisms of Wnt signaling in development.

Jun Ma, PhD , focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate embryonic development. His lab's work centers on a morphogenetic protein found in the fruit fly Drosophila, Bicoid, which directs the formation of the anterior structures in the embryo.

Aaron Zorn, PhD , investigates the molecular mechanisms controlling the development of organs such as the liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract, which are derived from the embryonic endoderm. Visit the Zorn lab site.