Who we are and the DBRI mission:
The Developmental Biology Research Initiative (DBRI) is located within the Department of Biology at McGill University and is comprised of cell and developmental biologists working with five principal groups of model experimental organisms or systems – yeast, worms, fruit flies, plants and frogs. Researchers in the DBRI use these organisms to derive new and fundamental insights into how cells function as well as how organisms develop from a single specialized cell, the fertilized egg. Why is the study of cell and development biology in model systems important and innovative? Although multicellular organisms are made up of many different cell types that play specific roles, and the investigation of cell differentiation in multicellular organisms is complex, many aspects of these are conserved in simple model systems. For example, asymmetric growth in a simple eukaryote like yeast involves the same types of proteins as the polarized growth of neurons in humans. Certain invertebrate model organisms, such as the multicellular roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans, and the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, are particularly suited to studying developmental biology, the mechanism by which multicellular beings are patterned and organized. Genetic tools are available in these organisms to facilitate gene discovery and rapidly elucidate genetic networks that underlie development.