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Research Laboratories

Liu Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Dr Karen Liu

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The Liu laboratory studies genetics and embryonic development: in
particular, neural crest contributions to the cranial skeleton.


transgenic mouse (top) and tadpole (bottom)Current work in the laboratory uses mouse and frog to bring together developmental biology and novel chemical genetics techniques.

These topics draw on Karen Liu's pre-doctoral training in mouse genetics and Xenopus embryology, and her postdoctoral work, which focused on adapting chemical tools to study signalling in development.

While a postdoc, she was able to show in vivo validation of ‘inducible stabilization’, a broadly applicable method for making drug-sensitive proteins.

Recent work from her lab has identified Wnt signalling differences distinguishing differentiation of the frontal and parietal bones in the skull. Her approach combines classical embryological experiments with genetic mutants (including drug-dependent alleles); these assays are complemented by molecular and biochemical methods.

The Liu  lab is also developing next-generation drug dependent protein alleles: target include Wnt pathway proteins beta-catenin and dishevelled.

Work on the Wnt/PCP effector fuzzy has led to a new study linking PCP and morphogenesis in the skull, as well as plans to expand the repertoire of chemical tools for regulating PCP genes in vivo.

Laboratory Members

Post doctoral fellows

Dr Sandra Gonzalez Malagon

PhD student

Mr Basil Yannakoudakis


MSc student

Ms Aida Mesbahi


BDS students

Mr Willis Barrell

Ms Yvonne Yeung

Ms Zenab Sher


Contact for further information


Tel: +44 (0)20 7188 8035



Department of Craniofacial Development & Orthodontics


Craniofacial Development & Stem Cell Biology Research


research in dentistry & oral science
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