Genetic control of cell fate decisions in the developing mouse embryo
Prof Elizabeth Robertson
University of Oxford
Regulatory cues that control growth and development of embryos remain poorly understood. We do know that the specialised extra-embryonic tissues that give rise to the placenta are set aside at the very earliest stages after the embryo implants into the uterus.
We are studying how key transcription factors activate expression of downstream genes that guide the correct morphogenesis of the early placenta. We also want to understand how cell fate decisions in the embryo establish the body axis and regulate the formation of specific cell types and tissues as the embryo grows and becomes more complex.
I aim to discover how mutations in these pathways can cause debilitating conditions affecting pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia as well as birth defects.