Kenji Sugioka

Assistant Professor

Our research focuses on the developmental control of cell division during animal morphogenesis. We use live-imaging, genetics, tissue engineering, and image analysis to discover fundamental rules that shape embryos.

Our life begins with a single-cell, fertilized egg that divides to form 37.2 trillion cells constituting our body. During the process of cell proliferation, the timing and angle of cell division need to be orchestrated to shape tissues and organs. Despite its significance in development and disease, it remains unclear how environmental signals and cell-cell communications precisely pattern cell division.

The Sugioka lab studies the developmental patterning of cell division using the simple multicellular model of C. elegans embryos. C. elegans has only 959 somatic cells yet is complex enough to develop various tissues and organs. Remarkably, they exhibit invariant cell division dynamics among individuals, enabling quantitative and single-cell level analysis of cell division in a multicellular system. We will employ live imaging, molecular biology, genetics, and tissue engineering to uncover the fundamental rules underlying the developmental control of cell division. Specifically, we are interested in the following topics:

  • Causal relationships between extrinsic and intrinsic cues and cell division patterns.
  • The molecular basis underlying the symmetry-breaking of cell division.
  • How cell surface flow contributes to the patterning of cell division.