Our team studies embryonic development and regeneration in crustaceans and insects.
We try to understand the diverse mechanisms that these animals use to build and repair their bodies; for example, how different parts of the body are made and what instructions they receive from genes in order to develop different organs. When the body is injured, we are interested to find out which cells respond to that injury and regenerate the missing tissues.
In principle, different (distantly related) animals could achieve these tasks in different ways. For example, they might use a different gene to signal which part of the embryo will become the head or the tail end of the body, or a different cell type to regenerate an injured tissue. But these comparisons sometimes reveal unexpected similarities, which suggest a common evolutionary origin or a similar underlying constraint. These comparisons can also reveal when and how specific mechanisms of development or regeneration evolved.
Our effort is focused on exploring these mechanisms in new species, beyond the well-established laboratory models. Thus, a significant part of our work goes towards developing new tools and methods for our new experimental models.
for more details, go to the averof lab webpage: