Skeletal developmental genetics

We are focused on the genetic mechanisms which underpin the earliest stages of embryonic development – particularly the neural tube (brain), epidermis (skin) and craniofacial skeleton. 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
  • 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 Grainyhead-like (Grhl) gene family in development
  • Assessing novel Gene-Environment Interactions (GxE) in craniofacial and epithelial defects
  • Identifying novel Grhl-regulatory elements
  • Generation of genetically-modified zebrafish models to study craniofacial development

Team members

Group leader: Dr. Seb Dworkin

Associate Lab Head: Dr. Brian Grills

PhD students: Michael de Vries, Nishanthi Mathiyalagan