Cell and developmental biology


We aim to understand the regulation of cell function, cellular interactions, and the mechanisms that control embryonic development.

The study of Cell and Developmental Biology comprises detailed analyses of the molecular, functional and biochemical controls of precisely how cells behave, both in isolation and within tissues and organ systems.

By understanding how cells regulate their growth, size, function, survival and co-ordination, we can begin to understand these complex natures of cellular activity and interaction in both healthy individuals and disease states.

These studies allow us to define the pathology of human disorders such as

  • Parkinson disease
  • hypertension
  • osteoporosis
  • cleft palate
  • diseases that affect both developing and established
    • muscle
    • kidney
    • brain
    • bone
    • skin

Fundamental discoveries such as these are the key to the development of future therapies and pharmacological agents to treat these debilitating developmental disorders and adult-onset disease.

Research groups

Cellular injury and regeneration

Group leaders: Dr. Caroline Taylor and Dr. Jarrod Church
We are focused on understanding the molecular pathways involved in tissue injury and repair/regeneration in a number of organs including brain, bone and skeletal muscle.

Molecular and developmental endocrinology

Group leader: Dr. Bert De Groef
The role of (neuro)hormones, receptors and gene transcription factors in vertebrate embryonic development, using the mouse and chicken as the main animal models.

Microbial communities in the environment

Group Leader: Associate Professor Ashley Franks
We focus on the study of the structure and function of microbial communities in the environment.

Molecular parasitology

Group leader: Dr. Teresa Carvalho
We identify new molecules that prevent parasite development and design novel anti-parasitic drug treatments.

Neuropharmacology of addiction

Group leader: Dr. Elvan Djouma
We are interested in the underlying mechanisms in the brain involved in drug-seeking behaviour and relapse to drugs of abuse.

Skeletal developmental genetics

Group leader: Dr. Seb Dworkin
We are focused on the genetic mechanisms which underpin the earliest stages of embryonic development.