The Dynamics of Morphogenesis Lab is focused on understanding the dynamic mechanisms controlling tissue formation and cell fate determination in vivo.

Morphogenesis requires the precise spatiotemporal coordination of processes occurring across multiple scales: from the expression of individual genes, to the behaviour of single cells, to the forces that drive the simultaneous movement of thousands of cells.

Our lab is interested in how molecular events are translated into, and integrated with, cellular properties and mechanical forces to orchestrate tissue formation.

We are particularly interested in how these processes interact to direct the formation of the neural tube – the embryonic precursor to the brain and spinal cord. Incorrect formation of the neural tube results in neural tube defects (NTDs) which are amongst the most common and severe birth defects.

Understanding the dynamic mechanisms driving neural tube formation may ultimately assist in the development of methods for the prediction and treatment of NTDs.


Group leader

Dr Melanie White

Dr Melanie White

Group Leader, Dynamics of morphogenesis

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We aim to understand the key dynamic processes that direct the formation of the neural tube and the patterning of neural cell fate.

We aim to foster a collaborative and supportive lab environment with an emphasis on training and mentorship. We value curiosity, integrity and persistence. Each lab member brings a unique set of skills and experiences and we strive to create a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.

  • Remodelling of cellular actomyosin networks during neural tube formation.
  • Cellular mechanotransduction and neural fate.
  • Tissue-scale forces directing neural tube morphogenesis and patterning.
  • Dynamics of junctional neurulation.
  • Morphogenetic effects of mutations associated with human neural tube defects.

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