Welcome to Prof Andrea Münsterberg's lab research page
The group investigates embryonic development and how it is controlled at the molecular level. We use the chick as a model to study vertebrate development, because the embryo is easy to access in the egg. In particular, we look at the signals that control cell migration and cell fate decisions. For example, future heart cells are ‘born’ at an early embryonic stage and then migrate long distances to where the heart forms. The same is true for the cells that will become the skeletal muscles in our body which are derived from structures called somites. During their migration the cells are also instructed to adopt specific fates and the two processes, migration and fate specification, go hand-in-hand. Our work aims to decipher the molecular and cellular mechanisms driving this. The insights we gain increase our understanding of early embryo development, but the research is also important for stem cell science and regenerative medicine, because similar mechanisms to those acting in embryos govern stem cell differentiation and tissue repair. We use the mouse as a model for studying tissue repair, in particular how muscle is able to regenerate.