My background and training has focused on the application of live cell microscopy to study cell biology within the context of development. My current research focuses on the use of zebrafish to analyze the mechanisms of epithelial sheet fusion during retinal development, migration of periocular mesenchyme cells and development of photoreceptors.
My research interests lie in understanding and observing dynamic morphogenetic processes occurring during vertebrate development. I focus on two general mechanisms known to occur throughout development and throughout the embryo: epithelial sheet fusion and mesenchymal cell migration. To study both of these events I have focused my research on examining retinal morphogenesis and periocular mesenchyme migration. To visualize these dynamic populations of cells I use the Danio rerio (zebrafish) model system. Zebrafish embryos are transparent and provide unparalleled in vivo tools for imaging single cells and populations within living tissues over time. In my lab we use cutting edge scanning confocal microscopy combined with novel molecular biology genome editing techniques to visualize and manipulate individual cell populations during zebrafish retinal morphogenesis.
Ultimately we hope to use the zebrafish to model human disease, primarily focusing on blinding disorders colobomata and anterior segment dysgenesis and cone-rod dystrophy.
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