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Adam C. Martin, Ph.D.

Department of Biology

Room 68-459
(617) 324-0074 (Office Phone)
(617) 324-2873 (Lab Phone)


BS. 2000. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Ph.D. 2006. UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Postdoc. 2010. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Research Summary

During embryonic development, populations of cells undergo large-scale movements to organize the body plan of an organism. An important problem in developmental biology is how 1,000’s of cells collectively coordinate their behavior to reproducibly generate organs and tissues with specific forms and functions. My lab uses a multi-disciplinary and multi-scale approach to examine how cells generate mechanical forces and how these forces are transmitted across the tissue to drive morphogenesis. We use the fruit fly embryo as a model system to answer these questions because we can readily image cell shape changes in real-time and use image segmentation to quantify cell behavior. This quantitative imaging is combined with genetic, biochemical, cell biological, and biophysical approaches to dissect the fundamental mechanisms responsible for tissue morphogenesis. Current topics of interest for the lab include:

  • The role of cytoskeletal dynamics in cell shape change and force transmission
  • Mechanical signaling between cells and its ability to influence/coordinate cell behavior
  • The time evolution of mechanical properties, such as tension, in both cells and tissues during a morphogenetic movement

Selected Publications

  • Martin A.C., M. Kaschube, E.F. Wieschaus. Pulsed contractions of an actin-myosin network drive apical constriction. Nature, 2009. 457(7228):495-9.
  • Martin A.C., M. Gelbart, R. Fernandez-Gonzalez, M. Kaschube, E.F. Wieschaus. Integration of contractile forces during tissue invagination. J. Cell Biol. 2010. 188(5):735-49.
  • Martin, A.C. Pulsation and stabilization: Contractile forces that underlie morphogenesis. Dev. Biol. 2010. 341(1):114-25.
  • Mason, F.M., A.C. Martin. Tuning cell shape change with contractile ratchets. Curr. Opin. Gen. & Dev. 2011. 21(5):671-9.

Last Updated: December 29, 2011