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Prof Claudio Stern
Anatomy building
Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, UCL
Gower Street
Tel: 020 7679 7053
Fax: 020 7679 2091
  • J Z Young Chair of Anatomy
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Research Summary
The research in our laboratory focuses on the processes that establish cell diversity and pattern in the early embryo. We ask the questions: how do cells in the embryo know what fates to adopt, at the right positions and at the right time? What mechanisms ensure that the correct proportions of cells are allocated to different organs?

Currently, the projects in the lab fall into four major headings:

1. How do higher vertebrate embryos establish their polarity, and what mechanisms coordinate cell movements with gene expression?

2. What mechanisms are responsible for inducing the early nervous system?

3. How is the early nervous system subdivided into forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord?

4. Embryonic stem cells - where are they in the embryo, and can we harness them to understand developmental pathways?

We are particularly interested in discovering mechanisms that represent general principles in development, and therefore follow a multi-disciplinary approach. We choose (or if necessary, develop) techniques that will help us best to answer the questions being asked, rather than being wedded to any particular set of techniques. We do not define our questions based on specific genes, but rather based on the biological event we are trying to understand + we first define the biological process and then try to establish which genes are important for that process. Finally, although much of our research uses chick embryos (because they are easy and cheap to obtain at precise stages of development, because it is easy to manipulate cells, and because a lot is already known about how they develop), we are also not wedded to this as an experimental system. Current projects use chick, quail, frog and mouse embryos, and we are also collaborating with other labs using yeast, flies and fish.

Keywords: Asymmetric cell division, Axon guidance, Calcium, Development, Differentiation, Gene expression, Imaging, Molecular imaging, Neural signalling, Neural stem cells, Neuroblast, Neurogenesis, Neuroimaging, Progenitors, Proliferation, Regeneration, Signalling

Methods: Anti-sense and morpholino approaches, Calcium imaging, Cell culture, Cell transplantation, Confocal microscopy, ES cell manipulations, fluorescence microscopy techniques, Gene expression profiling - single cell , Gene expression profiling - tissue level, Genetic manipulation (including knockout/knockin) , Genetic screens, Genomic analyses, Histology, In vivo electroporation, ionophoresis and microinj, Image analysis, Immunohistochemistry, light microscopic techniques, miRNA analysis, Microarrays, Multi-photon imaging, Molecular imaging, Time-lapse imaging
Academic Background
1994 DSC Doctor of Science University of Oxford
1985 MA Master of Arts University of Oxford
1978 DPhil Doctor of Philosophy – Developmental Biology University of Sussex
1975 BSc Bachelor of Science – Biological Sciences University of Sussex
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