Lab IntroductionYou have reached the lab for Genomics, Evolution, and Development (GED) at Michigan State U. This lab is run by Dr. C. Titus Brown, who is an assistant professor in the departments of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) at MSU.
Broadly speaking, we are interested in the mechanisms of development: how embryos develop, how genomes encode the developmental process, and how the developmental process has evolved. Our model organism of choice is the chick, a particularly accessible vertebrate embryo, and our primary interest is in the development and evolution of the neural crest, a fascinating tissue that contributes to a variety of adult vertebrate structures. By studying the interactions between regulatory genes and how they progressively specify tissues, we can begin to understand the way in which neural crest arises in development; and, by comparing and contrasting chick development with zebrafish, frog, mouse, lamprey, and invertebrate chordates such as amphioxus and ascidians, we can gain insight into the evolutionary mechanisms by which these structures appeared.
Our approach combines hypothesis-driven single gene experiments with expertise in large-scale data integration and gene network model building. This combination of "wet" experimental work and "dry" computational integration is well suited to investigating the large networks of interconnected molecules involved in neural crest development.
The development and extension of data analysis tools and toolkits is another interest of the lab. We are in dire need of advanced computational tools for modern biology -- tools for analyzing data from whole genome sequencing and sequence annotation, microarrays, ChIP-chip data, massively parallel sequencing, regulatory genomics, third-party databases, and metagenomic sequences. As part of our research we are pushing the interface between investigative tools and biological science, which will lead to new types of questions and (hopefully!) answers to old questions. In connection with this research, we are very interested in the process of developing maintainable and extensible software.