The craniofacial complex (face, skull) represents the most diversified and evolutionarily adapted anatomical aspect of vertebrates. Craniofacial tissues are finely tuned to meet functional and ecological demands with tremendous precision, and their evolution has been a major driving force in the expansion of vertebrate lineages. However, because of the long-lasting interest in conventional laboratory animal models, there is no general genetic or developmental model of craniofacial evolution and diversification in vertebrates.
We explore potential relationships between craniofacial morphology and ecologica/behavioral parameters, using high-definition 3D reconstructions of craniofacial tissues based on small-animal imaging techniques such as X-ray microcomputed tomography, soft tissue contrast enhancement, 3D image analysis, and segmentation.
We also use a state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary methodology to investigate the genetic and developmental mechanisms associated with craniofacial development and evolution in new non-classical vertebrate models such as reptiles.
Additional information can be found in our recent publications (see Publication Page).