Prof. Dr. Heike Siebert
Duration: 01.10.2017 - 30.09.2021
Freie Universität Berlin
The development of complex multicellular organisms from a fertilized egg cell continues to pose some of the most intriguing and challenging problems in modern biology. Life at this level is governed by complex regulatory processes and disentangling these has proved difficult. Yet there are a few physical processes that are believed to underlie the differentiation into different cell types, tissue formation, organogenesis and form and function of life more generally. The outcome of these processes can be shown to be highly replicable, robust and capable of producing the complexity we observe in nature. Here we propose to reconstruct, rationally and using only biological components, such pattern generating processes de novo. To do so we use a combination of developmental, systems and synthetic biology and mathematical modelling. Ability to forward engineer such pattern forming processes will fundamentally alter our understanding of the processes underpinning life, and ultimately our ability to affect developmental processes in health and disease.