During embryonic development of vertebrates, the elongating body axis segments rhythmically and sequentually into the precursors of vertebrae and ribs. The temporal regularity with which segments form is due to coordinated oscillatory gene expression in the segmenting tissue. These oscillations manifest themselves as traveling waves through the tissue. A new segment is formed whenever a wave arrives at the anterior end of the tissue.
Together with the lab of Prof. Andy Oates, we investigate how the collective dynamics of coupled cellular oscillators regulates the timing and the morphological properties of vertebrate segmentation. Our ultimate aim is to understand the dynamics of genetic oscillations and vertebrate segmentation from the single oscillator scale to the multicellular tissue-level patterning system.