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Developmental Biology | Overview

Birth defects affect 2 to 3 percent of all infants born in the United States each year. Such defects now account for the majority of all neonatal deaths. Premature and growth restricted infants may be born with immature or dysmature development of vital organs, leading to substantial morbidity and mortality.

An understanding of developmental processes requires diverse approaches, encompassing genetics and cellular and molecular biology. The Section in Developmental Biology seeks to facilitate the trainees' understanding of these approaches, and to develop specific strategies necessary for independent contributions to this field. Current areas of interest include:

  • Inflammation, injury and repair of the developing lung
  • The biology of hypoxia in development and lung vascular disease
  • Role of cell adhesion molecules in organogenesis
  • Embryology and genetics of mouse models of neural tube defects
  • Cell and molecular biology of central nervous system development
  • Molecular mechanisms of female reproductive tract development

Ongoing projects involve mentors in Division of Newborn Medicine laboratories, as well as the Harvard Medical and Greater Boston biomedical environment. The diversity of research institutions and laboratories from which to select research mentors affords fellows in the program a unique opportunity to develop their expertise in developmental biology.