Research Goals

A fundamental question in biology is how cellular processes are so reproducible despite the inherent variations in the chemical reactions governing them.

During the development of a multicellular organism, precise control of gene expression allows the reproducible establishment of patterns that will lead to the formation of tissues and organs at the right time in the right place. While numerous studies have established how the spatial information is achieved and integrated by enhancers, less is known concerning the temporal features of transcriptional control. 

This is particularly true for transcriptional coordination, which refers to the inter-nuclear synchrony of gene activation and to the homogenous distribution of mRNAs across a field of coordinately developing cells. Our goal is to integrate the dynamic aspects of transcription to understand how a precise temporal coordination in gene expression leads to accurate cell fate decisions during development.

Approach

We mainly study early Drosophila development: the first 4 hours of embryogenesis.
The approach is highly integrative with techniques ranging from classical genetics and molecular biology to whole-genome profiling and state of the art live imaging microscopy. Image quantification and mathematical modeling are important aspects of our research.

Imaging transcription in living embryos

Principle of the MS2 approach

Imaging translation in living embryos

Principle of the SunTag approach