Dr Paul Hunt, MA (Cantab), PhD (London)
Work centres upon the processes occurring during the development of the head in vertebrate embryos. The initial organisation of the embryonic head in vertebrates is based on a number of repeating structures, whose early development is interrelated. Our interest is in the development of one of these series, the branchial arches. The branchial arches are located bilaterally on the underside of the developing head, and each is composed of a core of mesenchyme surrounded by an epithelial jacket. The external epithelial covering is comprised of surface ectoderm, while internally the arch mesenchyme is covered by pharyngeal endoderm, another epithelial layer. Most of the mesenchyme in a branchial arch is derived from the neural crest, a transient embryonic cell population that arises at the lateral edges of the neural plate. Interactions between epithelia and mesenchyme in the branchial arches result in the formation of a wide range of skeletal, neural, vascular and endocrine structures.
We employ a wide range of techniques, including in ovo microsurgery and in situ hybridization. At present work has two main themes:
i) Pharyngeal endoderm development.
ii) The role of crest-intrinsic factors in branchial arch development.
- Cell mixing and sorting in development
- Head development in vertebrate embryos
- In ovo microsurgery and fate mapping in avian embryos using quail/chick chimaeras
- Retinoids in vertebrate development
- Visualisation of gene expression in tissues and embryos by in situ hybridisation
Journal papers: academic
- Hunt, Romita & Hunt, Paul N (2003). The role of cell mixing in branchial arch development. Mechanisms of Development 120(7): 769-790.