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Plasticity of cells and organisms is a central feature in development and evolution.

Our group is interested in both cellular and whole organism aspects of developmental plasticity. At the organism level we focus on forces which may play a role in the evolution of developmental systems (ecological approach for Evo-Devo).

In particular, we study:

  1. The ability of developing flies (D. melanogaster) to cope with unexpected environmental challenges 
  2. The underlying epigenetic mechanisms of response,
  3. The implications of this response to the unchallenged offspring
  4. The involvement of symbionts in this response.

 

At the cellular level we are using embryonic stem cell models to investigate the transition from pluripotency to an early stage of cell commitment.

In particular, we study:

  1. How this commitment is affected by cell cycle phase
  2. What are the intermediate stages of differentiation
  3. How these early events are regulated by microRNAs.