Current Research and Interests
The team's research focuses on genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms in the embryo and fetus that underlie normal and abnormal development of the nervous system. Of particular interest is the process of neurulation (closure of the neural tube) which when abnormal can lead to severe congenital malformations, called neural tube defects (NTDs). Recent research has identified: (i) a key role for non-canonical Wnt (planar cell
polarity) signalling in the initiation of neural tube closure; (ii) the importance of BMP signalling in regulating low spinal closure; (iii) an inborn error of folate metabolism in some human fetuses with NTDs; (iv) a preventive effect of inositol on NTDs that do not respond to folic acid;
(v) initiation of a clinical trial to test whether inositol + folic acid can prevent a greater number of NTDs than folic acid alone.