Blueprints for Healthy Animals
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The function of genes and cellular phenotypes in animal systems

The focus of this theme is to link data on the sequence, expression and regulation of genes to the function of genes and cells in animal body systems during development and throughout life.

We want to understand how cells, tissues and organs develop over time, and interact to produce a whole, healthy animal.  This theme combines the investigation of embryonic development, studies of cells (in vivo and in cell culture), limb morphogenesis and bone formation with technologies and techniques for deep phenotyping using state-of-the-art imaging, scanning and labelling.

Using technologies such as CRISPR to precisely alter the genome of cells and deep phenotyping techniques we can start to understand the effects of those changes during development and throughout life.  We also have the ability to introduce transgenes (genes from other organisms, or specifically designed sequences) and have used this to reduce the effects of pathogens such as flu.

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Research Highlights

Examples of previous and current work in this area:


Genome editing and engineering

We are using genome editing and transgenic approaches to manipulate the genome of farm animals, study the function of genes and improve animal health.

Understanding how kidneys are built

A gradient of β-catenin activity determines the patterning of the basic building blocks of the kidney: nephrons.

Manipulating avian germ cells

Genome engineering techniques enable researchers to define key factors for germ cell self-renewal and develop novel methods for the cryopreservation (bio-banking) of avian species.

The identities of the brain’s immune cells

Gene expression profiles for microglia from different brain regions
Microglia from different brain regions have different gene expression patterns.