Developmental Health & Disease
Anatomy and cell biology come together in studies of development; and members of our department work to understand normal and disrupted development in several systems using a variety of innovative molecular, cellular and imaging techniques. For example, the work of several labs is focused on different aspects of the maternal-fetal interface to understand underlying processes in healthy and complicated pregnancies, including studies of placental biology and the effects of exercise during pregnancy. Our faculty also study several neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, muscular dystrophy and fetal alcohol syndrome, helping to uncover potential causes and functional outcomes of these disorders. The role of cellular channels such as connexins and pannexins in a variety of developmental disorders that involve skin, bone and hearing, as well as the potential use of these channels as therapeutic targets is another active area of research in our department. Using a variety of model systems including cellular, pre-clinical rodent and human subjects, and through collaborations with clinicians, our research has led to exciting discoveries with important implications for our understanding of both normal and abnormal development.