Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Professor Emeritus

4 South 0.56


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 385015 


Prof Cheryll Tickle


Current Research

One of the biggest challenges in biology is to understand how a single cell, the fertilised egg, gives rise to a new individual during embryonic development. The cell must divide many times to produce all the cells that make up the body; cells in different parts of the embryo must become different so that the parts of the body form in the proper positions and precise arrangements of specialized cells and tissues are laid down; and the growing embryo and its parts must be moulded into shape.

The development of the vertebrate limb provides a good system in which to explore these processes. I have a long standing interest in finding out the mechanisms that ensure that the parts of the limb arise in their proper places. For example, how is it that a thumb develops at one edge of our hand and a little finger at the other and what ensures that the fingers form at the tip of the limb and the shoulder at the base? Our research has contributed to identifying the genetic basis of limb development. This has provided links with clinical genetics and new clues about the origin of vertebrate limbs and evolution of morphological diversity.

The aim of one of my current projects is to make a publically available web-site to archive records of my key experiments on vertebrate limb development which revealed some fundamental concepts. I also plan to deposit other unpublished experimental data. This resource will not only provide an historical perspective on how developmental biology has evolved as a subject but also be useful to researchers in the field. It might also provide a useful source of data for teaching purposes. My other current project is studying the basis of pelvic reduction in natural populations of sticklebacks.


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