The National Centre for Biological Sciences extends a warm welcome to Raj Ladher, the newest faculty member to join the Centre. His expertise lies in the field of developmental genetics, specifically in understanding how developmental signals influence basic cellular mechanisms to control morphogenesis.
Raj comes to us from the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, where he was an independent researcher looking at the inductive interactions that give rise to the inner ear. Further work by his team also involved investigating how these signals then influenced the cytoskeleton of the inner ear rudiment to enable tissue morphogenesis. His group's investigations are responsible for the current model of inner ear induction used by the field. Raj Ladher's doctoral work at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK involved the identification of a novel homeobox gene expressed during gastrulation in the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis. His postdoctoral research at King's College, London and at the Unviersity of Utah, focused on understanding the molecular and tissue interactions responsible for the induction of the inner ear in chicks and mice
More recently, Raj's interests have been centred on scrutinising the mechanosensory hair cell, as it exemplifies the link between form and function. His studies at NCBS will seek to understand the cell biology behind its specialization, and ultimately link this into the developmental events that encode it.