Our research addresses the mechanisms of cell-cell communication in cell and tissue growth. Deficient regulation of signaling pathways involved in these processes result in diseases such as diabetes and cancer. By large scale genetics screens we have identified some 60 genes that regulate growth. We are using genetics, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and increasingly proteomics and computer science to study how the products of these 60 genes integrate in signaling networks and how the temporal and spatial activity of these networks controls cell and organ growth to produce organs such as the compound eye or the wing of a reproducible size and shape.
Complementing the classical genetic (organism-minus-one-gene) approach we are studying how genetic variation in natural populations and by artificial selection affects wing and eye size. We are convinced that the combination of classical and population genetics will ultimately provide mechanistic insight into how small genetic variation translates into phenotypic variation within species.