The Keller laboratory investigates the cellular, molecular and biomechanical basis of early amphibian morphogenesis, and in particular the convergent extension movements that function in gastrulation, neural tube formation, and shaping of the vertebrate body plan. The laboratory uses high resolution imaging of cell motility and biomechanical measurements of normal and experimentally manipulated embryonic tissues to address the question of how molecular and cellular events generate the patterned forces and tissue mechanical properties that shape the embryo. Major contributions of the lab include the characterization of the convergent extension tissue movements, development of the concept that active, patterned cell intercalation is a major mechanism of morphogenesis, direct measurement of embryonic forces and tissue material properties, and the development of specialized preparations to study morphogenesis. We collaborate widely and recently have begun a collaboration with Ann Sutherland (Cell Biology, UVA School of Medicine) on mouse early morphogenesis with the goal of using the strengths of the amphibian and mouse systems to complement one another.
- Edlund, A., Davidson, L., and Keller, R. (2013). Cell segregation, mixing, and tissue pattern in the Xenopus neurula. Developmental Dynamics, 242:1134-1146.
- Keller, R. (2012). Physical Biology Returns to Morphogenesis. Science, 338, 201-203.