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Craniofacial development research group

The craniofacial development research group is based within the Basic Sciences research theme at Manchester.


NameJob titleEmail address
Nicoletta Bobola Professor in Developmental Biology and Genomics

About our research

The cranial neural crest is a transient, migratory cell population of the vertebrate embryo. It originates from the neural tube and migrates to distant sites in the embryo, where it differentiates into many cell types and contributes to the tissues of the head and the neck and also to the heart circulation. Defects in the migration and differentiation of the cranial neural crest result in craniofacial and heart malformations.

Dr Bobola's group studies the regulation of gene expression in cranial neural crest development and differentiation. Changes in gene expression instruct the formation of organs and body parts during development and are mainly regulated at the transcriptional level. The group's research uses high-throughput approaches (mainly transcriptomics and epigenomic and transcription factors binding profiling) to build gene regulatory networks.

The group has made important contributions to the understanding of the gene regulatory networks that control the formation of cranial neural crest derivatives, including the middle and outer ear and the heart circulation.

Current postgraduate research students

  • Marta Losa Llabata
  • Robert Harrison