Retinal Development, human disease modelling in Xenopus
University College London
Embryonic retina is formed through a combination of multiple developmental processes including neural induction, eye field specification, eye cup formation, cell fate determination, lamination, and differentiation. Our aim is to understand the detailed molecular mechanism of whole retinogenesis. In particular, our main focus of research is on the mechanism of co-ordination of cell cycle regulation with developmental processes. Although the cell cycle needs to be co-ordinated with many aspects of developmental processes, and the defects of the co-ordination are the causes of many human diseases - such as cancer and some retinal disorders - little is known about the mechanism. To determine the mechanism, we use the amphibian retina as a model system. This system is ideal for detailed and fast functional analysis of retinogenesis. Through a combination of in vivo and in vitro approaches, our group is actively searching novel genes our lab aims to understand molecular mechanisms underlying human diseases through combination of in animal models, cell biology, and bio-informatics. We have been studying various human diseases from cancer to eye diseases. In particular, we are interested in age-related diseases including AMD, RP, glaucoma, and various cancers. Also, we are interested in construction of functional eye using retinal stem cells both in vivo and in vitro. Through these study, we aim to develop novel diagnosis and treatments of human diseases.