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Established by Prof. Nandan Nerurkar in January 2018, the Morphogenesis and Developmental Biomechanics Lab (MDBL) at Columbia University studies how tissues and organs form in the developing embryo through an integration of genetic, molecular, and biophysical cues. Using live in vivo imaging, gene misexpression, and biomechanical approaches in the developing chick embryo, we focus on understanding how forces that shape the embryo are specified by developmental signals, how these forces in turn feedback on tissue growth and stem cell differentiation, and how birth defects arise when these processes go awry. Ultimately, our goal is to establish the design principles of embryonic tissue formation, and to repurpose them for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications.