Welcome to the Mango Lab

The formation and physiology of organs is one of the fundamental mysteries of biology: how do pluripotent cells become committed to an organ? How is the development of organ precursors coordinated in space and time? And how does an organ respond to changing environmental conditions throughout the life of an animal? The Mango lab studies organ development and physiology using a simple organ, the C. elegans pharynx (or foregut), which nonetheless faces the same hurdles that confront organs in more complex animals. We have probed the earliest stages of organogenesis, when embryonic cells lose developmental plasticity and acquire pharyngeal fate. Our work has focused on the master regulators that specify organ fate and on the dynamic nuclear architecture within developing embryos. More recently, we have shown that developmental processes in the embryo are modulated by the environment experienced by the parent. We are fascinated by this observation, which suggests embryogenesis is sensitive to cross-generational signaling. We use a combination of genomics, genetics and cell biology to identify key regulators and understand how they function.