Our laboratory is interested in the formation of tissues and organs in the developing organisms. Development of tissues and organs typically starts with a few progenitor cells. The progenitor cells then undergo proliferation and morphogenetic movements to achieve the final functional forms of tissues and organs. Currently we are combining the powers of Drosophila genetics, quantitative imaging, and computational modeling to investigate two main projects:

1) Mechanical regulation of the Hippo pathway.
The Hippo signaling pathway is a key regulatory pathway of organ size in Drosophila and mammals. Deregulation of Hippo signaling pathway leads to massive organ growth in development and various types of cancer. Many lines of evidence have shown that the Hippo pathway is sensitive to mechanical cues, in particular, signals from the actin cytoskeleton. Through powerful genetic screening, biochemical, biophysical approaches and advanced imaging techniques such as STORM, we are ideally positioned to investigate the mechanistic link between the mechanical cues and the Hippo pathway.
2) The molecular and cellular basis of cell delamination.
Cell delamination is an important event frequently occurring during development and diseases such as tumor metastasis. However, the molecular and cellular basis of delamination has not been carefully studied due to the difficulty to track single cell event that occurs randomly in vivo. We use Drosophila embryonic neuroblasts as a model to study delamination events. Drosophila embryo neuroblasts delaminate from the embryo surface at stereotypical times and places, which opens opportunities to track, quantify and perturb delamination processes with subcellular spatial resolution in live embryos.