We study how a group of cells is coordinated in order to together create a new shape, i.e. which cell has to create how much mechanical force, and when. During development, this process determines the correct shape of organs and, if misguided, can lead to common birth defects, e.g. Spina bifida in humans.
This image shows a developing fruit fly egg in which we changed the way force was distributed across cells and tested how this changes the final overall shape. In this case this means, how many cells ended up in the inner, tube-like shape as opposed to on the outside circle. We are thereby hoping to understand the general processes that ensure correct organ shape during development.