Sagasti lab · UCLA · Cell morphogenesis

Morphogenesis of neurons and epithelial cells

Morphogenesis is the process by which cells adopt their specific shapes, sizes, and relationships with neighboring cells. Our lab studies the morphogenesis of developing sensory neurons and epithelial cells in the skin. We investigate how each of these cell types adopts its distinct features and how skin cells and neurons influence each other.

To study these questions we use zebrafish embryos and larvae as a model. Because zebrafish eggs are externally fertilized and their embryos are optically clear, we can image cellular behaviors in live animals. Using a combination of imaging and genetic manipulations, we aim to understand the molecular and mechanical factors that shape cells. By studying basic cellular processes we hope to shed light on how they are impacted by damage and disease.