Our lab studies fundamental cellular mechanisms of mammalian morphogenesis and how these are controlled by cell signaling. Understanding this control has significance beyond its fundamental importance in development since birth defects are the leading cause of death for infants during the first year of life and few preventative or non-surgical therapies exist.
We utilize a wide-array of cell biological and genetic approaches to understand how basic mammalian tissue shape is achieved and how this morphogenesis is coupled with cell fate specification. We combine genetic approaches that utilize on CRISPR/Cas9 to generate new mouse genetic tools together with live imaging, hIPSC, hESC, RNA sequencing, and biophysical approaches to understand fundamental aspects of morphogenesis.
In February, 2020, DSCB graduate student Akela Kuwahara presented her exit seminar to complete her Ph.D requirments! Akela joined the Bush lab in 2017 and accomplished a tremendous amount related to understanding of tracheal and esophageal cell fate specification. Akela took a position at Gordian Biotechnology where she will utilize her expertise in single cell sequencing to develop gene therapies for diseases of aging.
Recent DSCB graduate student Akela Kuwahara published her Ph.D. work on trachea and esophagus early cell fate specification in eLife. Here, we performed single-cell RNA-sequencing of early foregut development and identified novel markers that demarcate the earliest stages of trachea and esophagus development. Further, we show that NKX2.1, known as a master regulator of respiratory development, actually regulates relatively little of the tracheoesophageal transcriptional program at this stage. See in the news.
BMS graduate student Abby Kindberg has completed her Ph.D. studies on EPH/EPHRINregulation of cell-cell contacts and cellsorting in tissue morphogenesis. Abby moves on to a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale in the lab of Scott Holley. We will miss her!
BMS graduate student Abby Kindberg published her Ph.D. work in a paper in the Journal of Cell Biology In it, we show that EPH/EPHRIN signaling regulates the strength of cell-cell contacts through actomyosin contractility effects on interfacial tension. Minimization of heterotypic interfacial tension also favors homotypic contacts, which together govern the effects of EPH/EPHRIN signaling on tissue shape change. An excellent commentary on this work was written by Andrea McClatchey