Skeletal developmental genetics

As genetic mutations underpin an incredible spectrum of human disease, our group aims to understand the genetic mechanisms that regulate correct organ formation during embryonic development. In particular, we use genetic animal models to understand how the craniofacial skeleton, neural tube and brain, and epithelial tissue of the epididymis and skin are established. Utilising mice, zebrafish, cell culture and DNA from human patients with craniofacial defects, our group aims to uncover conserved molecular pathways which regulate correct patterning and formation of vertebrates.

Our routine techniques include:

  • Analysis of genetically-modified mouse and zebrafish embryos
  • Microinjection of zebrafish embryos
  • genetic manipulation of zebrafish embryos to create new lines
  • growth of mouse embryo jaw explants in culture
  • PCR
  • restriction enzyme digestion and cloning
  • in-situ hybridisation

Current projects

  • Analysis of the GRHL, IRF6 and PLAG1 genes in development
  • Assessing novel Gene-Environment Interactions (GxE) in structural and behavioural defects
  • Characterising alterations in animal behaviour as a direct consequence of genetic mutations
  • Generation of genetically-modified zebrafish models to study craniofacial development

Team members

Group leader: Dr. Seb Dworkin

PhD students: Joanne Wong, Nishanthi Mathiyalagan, Jemma Gasperoni

Masters students: Jarrad Fuller, Jeremy Neylon