The lab is broadly interested in addressing two questions: (1) what are the genetic and developmental mechanisms by which form and structure are regulated during vertebrate embryogenesis? and (2) how are these processes modified during evolutionary time to produce the spectacular phenotypic diversity seen in nature?
We combine the study of non-traditional model organisms, because of their diverse and ecologically relevant phenotypes, with traditional model species, because of the powerful molecular and genetic tools available, to explore questions relating to patterning and evolution of novelty in the mammalian skin. The skin is a powerful model because it exhibits remarkable diversity in form and structure across mammals, is experimentally accessible/tractable, and the molecular mechanisms underlying its formation have been well characterized. We use a variety of approaches, including experimental embryology, genetics, genomics, imaging, and mathematical modelling to uncover gene function and understand mechanisms of evolutionary change. The lab is currently focusing on two model systems: striped rodents and gliding mammals.