The goal of the lab is to decipher molecular mechanisms that help cells “do maths” during development – after all, cells are able to interpret numerical information, like the number of chromosomes in their nucleus or the gradients of morphogens in the extracellular space, and then “make” decisions based on that, such as which cell types to become. In particular, the lab will focus on how cells sense and interpret differential gene dosage, i.e., the number of copies of a gene in the genome. This will include studying the mammalian X chromosome, which is most often present in either one or two copies in the nucleus; this difference has had important implications during the evolution of mammals. As model systems, the lab is mostly using mouse embryonic stem cells and mouse embryos, following the ethical considerations associated with them.
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The calico cat image on the left is a drawing by Jenn Kay.