Research Unit

Evolutionary Developmental Biology

19 April 2019 → Ongoing
Other information
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Animal cell and molecular biology
    • Animal developmental and reproductive biology
    • Animal morphology, anatomy and physiology
    • Evolutionary developmental biology
The “Evolutionary Developmental Biology” Research Group of the Biology Department at Ghent University focuses on evolutionary developmental biology (“evo-devo”) of vertebrates, with special attention for the skeleton and dentition. With a tradition in morphology and histology, current research includes molecular, histochemical and cytochemical approaches to unravel the basic processes of vertebrate skeletal and dental development. By using a comparative approach, the aim is to understand which changes in developmental processes have contributed to morphological evolution. Apart from this fundamental aspect, the knowledge gained is also used in applied studies, in particular research into skeletal malformations in farmed fish. The lab is specialized in evo-devo of Actinopterygii (bony fish), including widely used (biomedical) model organisms such as the zebrafish (Danio rerio), or medaka (Oryzias latipes), but also representative species of cichlids (Cichlidae) and salmonids (Salmonidae). Occasionally, the research extends into the study of cartilaginous fishes (Chondrichthyes) and of Sarcopterygii, in particular non-mammalian model organisms such as the clawed frog Xenopus tropicalis. We use up-to-date imaging techniques, such as high resolution light and fluorescence microscopy, transmission and scanning electron microscopy, and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Analytical techniques include (immuno)histochemistry of cell and matrix components, in vitro organ culture and in situ hybridisation. The lab has active collaborations and running projects together with leading scientists and institutions in (amongst others) the United States, Canada, Singapore, Czech Republic,France, Italy, Portugal and Norway.