Resource leads

Prof Davies’ main research interest is in the development of biological form in foetal life, and how knowledge of this can be applied medically. There are three main aspects to this.

  • Developmental Biology, particularly of developing organs. This involves basic research into how populations of cells organize themselves, by internal and external signal, to generate complex anatomies from simple beginnings.
  • Tissue Engineering, especially a programme of research aiming to build a working kidney from stem cells. So far, starting from foetal mouse stem cells, our technique can produce very small, immature kidneys in culture that can nevertheless filter blood when transplanted into adult host animals. The eventual aim – still a long way off – is to produce working, transplantable kidneys from human stem cells.
  • Synthetic Biology: both in order to test current theories of tissue development and to extent the scope of tissue engineering, we are using synthetic biological techniques to program cells to generate designed (non-natural) patterns and forms, driven by artificial genetic modules. We call this approach ‘synthetic morphology’.

The lab specializes in using approaches that minimize animal use, and Davies has recently published a book to spread knowledge of these techniques.

In addition, the lab hosts the editorial office of the GUDMAP database of gene expression in urogenital development - www.gudmap.org

Jamie Davies