A quantitative investigation of coupled oscillators in spontaneous somite organization
The broad goal is to develop a comprehensive understanding of stochastic cellular and developmental processes, during which form and pattern emerge from the simple beginnings of a fertilized egg. In specific, we ask how a pattern is formed with high spatiotemporal accuracy in zebrafish somitogenesis, through the interactions of multiple clocks, including a mitotic clock to “tell” a cell when to proliferate and a segmentation clock to “tell” when a somite is to form. The phenomenon is similar to self-organization in physics and chemistry. Our strategy is to leverage expertise in modeling, microfluidics, single-cell analysis, and live embryo imaging, to dissect the complicated clock-coupling functions with various in vitro and in vivo models. The results will draw a comprehensive picture of how collective patterns emerge from coordinated individuals, generalizable to other living and non-living systems that utilize similar clock design and coupling mechanisms.
$1,675,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health
$624,356 grant from the National Science Foundation
Presented at the Massachusets Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
Published in Cell Systems, 2017
[External Proposal / Grant]: for Single-cell analysis of mitotic cycles entrained in spontaneous somite organization
$2,690 grant from the Borroughs Wellcome Fund