The research in the Sutherland lab focuses on the cell behaviors driving morphogenesis in the early mouse embryo. Using long-term (6-8 hours) time-lapse confocal imaging of transgenic animals expressing fluorescent reporter proteins (EGFP and Tomato fluorescent protein), we have obtained high-resolution imaging of individual cell behavior in the mouse embryo. This has enabled us to describe the cellular mechanisms underlying elongation of the primary axis of the embryo, and to extend this analysis to embryos lacking proteins of the planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling system, which exhibit both a shortened primary axis and neural tube closure defects. We also discovered a novel function of the mTOR signaling pathway in regulating blastocyst activation for implantation, which is regulated by availability of specific amino acids. In addition, we have described specific effects of uterine extracellular matrix on trophoblast cell behavior and development of the placenta.
- BA, Biology, Wellesley College
- PhD, Anatomy, University of California San Francisco