We study vertebrate development, using frog and zebrafish embryos, since they are amenable to genetic, molecular and live imaging approaches.

One focus of our research is on craniofacial development. In particular, we study signaling pathways that regulate formation of the primary mouth, the critical first opening between the gut and the outside of the embryo.

A second broad focus is on formation of three-dimensional structure in the brain, including the brain ventricular system, an important circulatory system within the brain; and the “great bends” that pack the brain into the skull.

A third focus is on use of the zebrafish as a tool to understand human mental health disorders. We are analyzing genes associated with schizophrenia, and the human 16p11.2 interval, associated with autism.