Left-right (LR) asymmetry is a fundamental feature of our internal anatomy.
The heart, stomach and spleen are located on the left side of the body, the liver is on the right, and the intestine rotates in a counterclockwise fashion. Individuals with abnormal LR asymmetry are born with severe birth defects in multiple organs.
The goal of our research is to understand the biological mechanisms that control the development of LR asymmetry at the organ level, in order to illuminate the causes of birth defects. We are investigating LR asymmetric organ development at multiple scales, including studies of cell- and tissue-level morphogenesis in frogs and DNA sequence analyses from human patients.