We are a developmental biology lab and we study the molecular mechanisms of embryonic cell fate decision, plasticity regulation, asymmetric cell division and evolutionary introduction of a new cell lineage using the highly regulative sea urchin and other echinoderm embryos as a model system. In parallel, we also study how the same molecular mechanisms used in the embryonic cells promote uncontrolled tumorigenesis using human cancer cells. Through these studies, we aim to uncover the fundamental biological question of “what makes each cell type unique and different from another”, using advanced microscopy, proteomics, metabolomics and systems-level approaches.

S. purpuratus sea urchins