We study progenitor multipotency, cell fate choices and cellular behaviors in developing embryos, by focusing primarily on the cardiopharyngeal lineage, which produces both heart and head muscles in vertebrates and in their closest living relatives, the tunicates. We use the simple embryos of the ascidian Ciona to analyze conserved aspects of early cardiopharyngeal development with high spatial and temporal resolution. Our methods include CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome engineering, quantitative imaging, single cell genomics and mathematical modeling. Since January 2021, we work from two complementary locations: the Sars International Center for Marine Molecular Biology at the University of Bergen (Norway), and the Department of Biology at New York University (USA).
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