The early shapes of organ primordia are important because they lay the foundation for subsequent pattern formation and postnatal function.  Mechanisms that develop embryonic forms are therefore highly relevant to understanding the basis of congenital anomalies and for designing regenerative strategies.

Our lab is most interested in how embryonic structures are shaped during development.  We focus on the early limb bud and branchial arch as models of growing 3D structures.  Because of its relevance to human biology and rich genetic toolbox, we mostly study the mouse embryo and sometimes employ advantages of other model organisms such as zebrafish and chick embryos.

To holistically understand morphogenetic mechanisms, we examine signalling pathways and physical forces that together drive cell movements.  Our base methods are derived from classical manipulative embryology and traditional mouse genetics.  We extend that foundation to live image mouse embryos at cellular resolution in 4D, measure and manipulate physical forces in vivo, and mathematically model the physical basis of morphogenesis.

The most important feature of our approach is the highly collaborative nature of experimentalists and theoreticians, both within our lab and beyond, that are motivated to integrate their expertise.
Hopyan Lab (May 2017) - Left to Right: Clarissa Pasiliao, Angie Griffin, Min Zhu, Sevan Hopyan, Kelli Fenelon, Mohammad Samani, Hirotaka Tao
Canadian Institutes of Health Research