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Symmetry breaking in early mammalian organogenesis: the mechanical and cellular basis of gut tube formation

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, December 03, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The McDole lab is a newly established lab that studies how the mouse embryo builds complex structures such as a beating heart or the intricate folds of the brain from initially simple and uniform starting materials.

We want to know where and how physical forces are generated in the developing embryo, and how those forces are coupled with changes in cell shape, behaviour, and gene expression to give rise to changes in tissue architecture. The mouse embryo is an ideal system to study how early organs take shape as at the time organogenesis begins the embryo is still fairly small and easily accessible.

To do this, we use advanced light-sheet imaging to visualize mouse embryo development real-time, together with a number of techniques to follow, measure, perturb, and model the formation of early organ systems.

This project will involve using live imaging, measuring and manipulating mechanical forces, and examining gene expression and signalling with high spatial and temporal precision in order to define the sequence of events surrounding one of the earliest organogenesis events, the formation of the primordial gut tube.

Applicants should be familiar with the basic principles of light microscopy, have taken courses in developmental biology and genetics, as well as some physics, be comfortable working with tools, precision instruments, and have good computer skills. Experience in image processing and coding languages such as Python or Matlab is a plus. Successful candidates will have good written and verbal communication skills in English and a collaborative spirit, as well as the ability and passion to work in a highly multidisciplinary field.

Funding Notes

Please see the LMB PhD website for further details: View Website


McDole K., Guignard L., Amat F., Berger A., Malandain G., Royer LA., Turaga SC., Branson K. & Keller PJ. (2018)
In toto imaging and reconstruction of post-implantation mouse development at the single-cell level.
Cell 175: 859-876.

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