Faculty News

8-cell embryo, three days after fertilization (WikiCommons)

How Early-Stage Embryos Maintain Their Size

September 2, 2019

Prof. L. Mahadevan collaborated with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) to discover what controls the size of an embryo. The study published in Nature found that embryos maintain an average size in early development through simple hydraulic pressure. During early stages of embryonic development, a fluid-filled cavity grows and expands. Using mouse embryos, researchers observed that the cavity repeated the process...

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Illustration of protein aggregation

Using Math to Help Treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other Diseases

August 15, 2019

L. Mahadevan's latest study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers insight into treatments for diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other diseases in which protein aggregation (misfolded proteins clump together) is implicated. While the role of protein aggregation is not fully understood, many current treatments target the aggregation process. However, finding the right treatment protocols for these drugs is challenging....

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Belugas in Water with Topography of Animals Ridges

How Smooth Is A Dolphin?

July 17, 2019

Dolphin skin has long inspired research on drag reduction mechanisms due to the presence of skin ridges that could reduce fluid resistance. Prof. George Lauder and PhD student, Dylan Wainwright (Lauder Lab) collected in vivo three-dimensional surface data on the skin from five species of odontocetes (cetaceans that includes dolphins, porpoises, and all other whales possessing teeth) to quantitatively examine skin texture, including the presence and size of ridges.

Lauder, Wainwright and team molded the skin of live...

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Rosella Gabriellus fossil

Javier Ortega-Hernández and Rudy-Lerosey Aubril Awarded William F. Milton Fund

July 15, 2019

Congratulations to Javier Ortega-Hernández and Rudy-Lerosey Aubril (Research Associate, Ortega-Hernández lab) awarded the William F. Milton Fund for their project, "Revealing the nearshore cradle of animal evolution: a new exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossil biota from the early Cambrian of British Columbia.

The award will support the study of a new...

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Eggs by Nicholas Blumhardt on Flickr

Overturning Evolutionary Doctrine

July 3, 2019

In a new study in Nature, Cassandra Extavour and her lab disprove an old hypothesis and prove a new one. Extavour says insects make up 80 percent of all animal species on Earth. She and PhD students, Sam Church, Seth Donoughe ('18), and Bruno de Medeiros analyzed a large data set to challenge the untested assumptions about egg size in insects. Across all insects, the team found...

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Tokyo Tech and Jim Hanken Developmental Cell Study 2019

Oxygen Shapes Arms and Legs

June 13, 2019

A collaboration between professors at Tokyo Tech and Yamagata University and Prof. Jim Hanken has identified a surprising factor that the amount of oxygen surrounding the embryo could have been crucial for the appearance of interdigital cell death in tetrapods during evolution. The study, published in Developmental Cell, looked to understand the role of environmental oxygen in the...

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Image from 2019 Science Advances Article by Stephanie Pierce

Fin-to-Limb Evolution

May 8, 2019
Stephanie E. Pierce collaborated with London's Royal Veterinary College to help explain how tetrapods (animals with limbs - hands and feet and fingers and toes) arose from animals that were fish with fins and lived in water.  The team examined fossil evidence using the innovative technique, anatomical network analysis (AnNA) and found a pattern not before seen. The study published in May 8 issue of Science Advances helps to explain how sea-dwelling creatures' fins became specialized... Read more about Fin-to-Limb Evolution