Physics is involved in many post-implantation developmental processes such as gastrulation and other morphogenesis processes. Sarra’s research focusses on the formation of the first pluripotent cells in the mammalian embryo using the mouse model. Before implantation is initiated, the cells in the Inner Cell Mass are physically separated in two distinct lineages: the primitive Endoderm and the pluripotent Epiblast. This segregation process is poorly understood and does not seem to be driven by molecular signalling alone. Sarra is investigating this crucial developmental step using a biophysical approach. So far, her observations not only support an involvement of cell mechanics in the self-organisation of the Inner Cell Mass but also seem to point at an unsuspected role of the Trophoblast.
Funding: Centre for Trophoblast Research