Stem Cell and Developmental Biology

Image: Portrayals of Prospero

Drosophila melanogaster larval brain with tumours. The knock-down of the neuronal-fate determinant prospero in Neural Stem Cells (NSC, in magenta) causes cells to fail to differentiate into neurons, leading to increased proliferation of NSC and ultimately tumour growth (in white). Additionally, we can see neuronal projections and axons in green.

Credit: Edel Alvarez
Tremendous advances in biomedical technologies are allowing us to understand how cells develop and differentiate into complex tissues and organisms, and this helping us to unravel the processes involved in many diseases.

Associate Professor Kelly Smith, Academic Theme Lead

Dr Lincon Stamp, Deputy

Cells are the basic unit of life.

Understanding how cells develop and differentiate into complex tissues and organisms is of fundamental biological importance and a key determinant of disease.

Our researchers use computational systems, stem cells and animal models to investigate the normal and pathological development of tissues and organs, including how sex organs, the heart and the nervous systems develop.

We also examine how cell state and fate change in macular degeneration, heart diseases and vascular disorders.

Our internationally recognised research into ethics, law and society addresses the societal impacts of emerging technologies such as stem cells.

Collectively, we aim to develop new methods for regenerative medicine, including:

  • Replacement cells for blood, brain and gut, and
  • Identifying improved treatments for retinal disease and neuropsychiatric disorders