Materna Lab

Welcome to the Materna Lab at UC Merced

We are a developmental biology lab interested in how the information encoded in the genome directs embryonic development.

The early zebrafish embryo is both accessible and amenable to experimentation and has proven to be an ideal model system to study early vertebrate development. We focus on a few specific cell types that, once specified, execute distinct morphogenetic programs to assemble embryonic tissues such as the embryonic gut, early blood vasculature, and Kupffer’s vesicle, which is involved in left/right axis formation.

The fundamental regulatory functions that underly these morphogenetic processes are incompletely understood. Specifically, how do only a few lineage-specific transcription factors regulate a complex program that guides cells to physically assemble into complex tissues? This ties into the more general question how other events in development, that also require the precise control of hundreds of genes, are orchestrated.