The goal of developmental biologists is to understand how a single cell develops into a multicellular organism. This complex process requires that cells divide, differentiate, and assume their proper positions relative to one another. MIT's Biology Department is focused on understanding how genes direct these distinct processes and how the behavior of cells at the molecular level contributes to development.
Faculty use a diverse group of organisms to address the different aspects of development. These include the model organisms C. elegans, Drosophila, zebrafish, frogs, and mice. Some faculty study human development through analysis of human genetic diseases. Yet other faculty use yeast and bacteria to study gene expression, signal transduction, and other aspects of cell biology that are relevant to understanding development at the genetic, molecular, and cellular levels.
Faculty with research programs in developmental biology: