Congratulations to Anthony Graham for receiving a Research Grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Anthony's project aims to understand the development of the pharyngeal pouches and clefts. The pharynx is an important region of the vertebrate body that is involved in many key processes including feeding, respiration, immune and endocrine activities. It has its developmental origin in a series of bulges, the pharyngeal arches, found on the lateral surface of the embryonic head. However, we know little about how the development of the pharynx is directed and it is important to understand this, both with respect to how this critical region of the body emerges but also due to the fact that there are numerous birth defects that present with malformations of this territory. The focus of this project is on the development of the pharyngeal pouches and clefts. These are very significant structures that play important roles during the development of all vertebrates. They define the limits of the pharyngeal arches and help organise their development. However, the development of the pouches and clefts is a much understudied and this needs to be rectified. The main objectives of this project are, therefore, to explore key steps in the development of the pharyngeal pouches and clefts.
This BBSRC funded project will enable us to conduct an in depth analysis as to how pharyngeal development is directed and the lessons learned here will be applicable to many developing systems. Furthermore, this work will give us insights into abnormal development events affecting the pharynx and other regions of the body.