Welcome

I am an evolutionary developmental biologist with expertise in experimental embryology, in vivo-imaging, cell-lineage analysis, and construction of gene regulatory networks. I am interested in understanding how changes in cellular processes, and their underlying gene regulatory networks, have led to diverse animal morphologies. Developmental genetics and evolutionary-developmental biology have provided significant insights into how gene regulatory networks (GRNs) regulate cell fate specification during development, and how those networks have been modified during evolution. Yet, we still do not understand how GRNs launch specific cell biological behaviors; nor do we know how changes in cell biology have influenced animal body-plan evolution. My overarching research goals are to fill these gaps by: 1) making explicit connections between GRNs and cellular behaviors in development, and 2) using these data to ask how body plans diverged through the evolution of morphogenesis itself. To do this, I use spiralians and echinoderms as model systems, because they have unique, and complementary, advantages for studying the evolution of morphogenesis in a phylogenetic context.