Dr. Shunsuke Yaguchi
The primary research goal of our lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms of embryonic axis specification and formation in the sea urchin. It has been suggested that this embryo has two independent, maternally specified axes, primary (anterior– posterior) and secondary (dorsal–ventral). My previous work  showed that specification of these two axes is linked by a single transcription factor, FoxQ2, during early embryogenesis. The linking pathway involves a double repression mechanism in which Wnt/ß-catenin signaling, which is essential for primary axis specification, represses FoxQ2, which represses both the nodal expression required for secondary axis specification, and BMP2/4, a factor downstream of Nodal. My goal is to try to understand how FoxQ2 is related to, or interacts with, those signaling pathways like the Wnt/ß-catenin, Nodal, and BMP2/4, which are responsible for axis specification and formation. Another research goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of neurogenesis, including the specification and patterning of the neurogenic ectoderm that develops at the anterior end of the sea urchin embryo.