The Division of Developmental Biology and Medicine is an exciting new grouping within the School of Medical Sciences. It includes basic scientists and clinical scientists studying multiple different aspects of developmental biology, from basic cell behaviour to clinical reproductive and obstetric medicine.
The Division is located partly in the state-of-the-art biological science facilities of the Michael Smith building, and partly in the embedded laboratory facilities in Central Manchester NHS Trust (including St Mary’s Hospital).
Developmental biology and medicine encompasses an exciting array of diverse research. There are three established groups within the Division, detailed below. Within these groups are many individual and specific research interests.
Maternal and fetal health
The maternal and fetal health group focuses on all aspects of pregnancy research. It includes researchers interested in reproductive medicine, implantation physiology, reproductive endocrinology, maternal vascular disease, maternal immune disorders, placental function, fetal growth disorders and stillbirth.
The linking philosophy of these topics is to improve outcomes for parents and their children by understanding the basic physiology of pregnancy and translating this knowledge to find solutions to pregnancy-related disease.
This group hosts the Tommy’s funded stillbirth research centre that receives and annual block grant to support research in the area of stillbirth. The centre aims to both prevent stillbirth by improved detection and management of at risk pregnancies and to improve the subsequent care of those patients who have unfortunately lost a child.
Paediatric growth and development
The paediatric growth and development group has a focused research interest in growth disorders of children and in improving treatment outcomes. Its main areas of research are in the pharmacogenomics and genetics of disordered growth along the prediction of therapeutic response and the modelling of different human growth trajectories using zebrafish.
There is specific interest in characterising the role of ubiquitination in growth disorders, using the 3M syndrome as a model disorder, and using multi-omic approaches to understand why some children born small fail to show catch-up growth.
Using the range of approaches covered by researchers, sets of genes have been associated with a transcriptomic response that define the molecular phenotypes of growth disorders and are predictive of clinical responses to human growth hormone treatment. This group also has experience at managing large clinical studies such as the Manchester Growth and Vascular Health Study.
The developmental biology group encompasses a broad array of research programmes and interests aimed at understanding the dynamic processes involved in the transformation of a fertilized egg into a complex multicellular organism.
Our studies involve work in a host of model organisms and are directed at understanding fundamental mechanisms involved in gene expression, cell signalling, and cell behaviour.
We employ a diverse set of approaches that include advanced imaging of cells and whole embryos, quantitative measurement of RNA and protein in single cells and the manipulation of cellular forces.
This work is illuminating the mechanisms by which different cell types and tissues arise during development, and mechanisms regulating stem cell maintenance and differentiation. One of our aims is to harness an understanding of fundamental developmental mechanisms to address problems in human development, diseases and in and the healing process.
Head of division
Dr Ed Johnstone
View a list of researchers in the division
tel: +44 (0)161 701 6951