Message from the Chair

Marek Mlodzik, Ph.D, Lillian and Henry M. Stratton Professor and Chair of the Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology, and Professor of Oncological Sciences and of Ophthalmology

The Department of Developmental & Regenerative Biology explores the events governing the development, patterning and regeneration of cells and organs. To achieve this, we use a multitude of model organisms, including Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus and mouse. The main areas of research are focused on developmental signaling pathways, cell death, organogenesis, fertilization, stem cells, and cancer models. In addition, several labs are using model organisms and cell culture assays in genomic and/or drug screens. The study of biological mechanisms through a broad and multi-tiered approach reveals unifying principles of biological development, structure and function with exquisite clarity, and provides important links to medical disorders and therapeutic potential.

The close juxtaposition of developmental and stem cell (regenerative) laboratories creates a unique collaborative environment, strongly promoting active interactions within the department. Studies on developmental mechanisms help to guide research on stem cells, and conversely, research on stem cells has provided mechanistic clues on developmental processes.

Many faculty members of the department are closely associated with the Black Family Stem Cell Institute, the Tisch Cancer Institute, the Friedman Brain Institute and the Center for Molecular Cardiology. Collaborations between laboratories using different model organisms and systems are common and postdoctoral fellows and graduate students are an integral part of this process. The department fosters collaborations with faculty in other basic science departments as well as with clinical scientists through joint projects, seminars, interdisciplinary programs, and training grants. In addition, we provide the institution with several core facilities that allow the use of model organisms and high content cell based screening in any context of basic, translational and clinical research.