About the Saunders Lab

The Saunders lab is increasing the understanding of temporal and spatial regulation of patterning and growth during development.

We are currently focusing on:

1. How embryos regulate time during development

2. How the embryo ensures robust cell migration

3. How topologically complex organs form and scale in the embryo


dev bio
Fission yeast cells
expressing pom1-tdTomato
and cdr2-GFP

The Saunders laboratory studies how biological systems manage to function so reliably despite the inevitable presence of noise (i.e. how is nature "robust"?). There are numerous potential sources of error for living organisms, ranging from biochemical fluctuations inside single cells to specimen-to-specimen variability. We use developing organisms to study questions related to robustness due to the large-scale cell and tissue changes (both genetic and mechanical) that typically occur over a relatively short period during embryogenesis and the remarkably high level of reproducibility. We use techniques from biology, physics and engineering to better understand how the process of a single-cell egg develops into a viable adult with such amazing precision.


dev bio
Cuticle preps of different
Bicoid mutants

The lab emphasies interdisciplinary research, with both experimental and theoretical people. Our objective is to collect quantitative data that can then be compared with realistic theoretical models. These models are then used to make predictions which we test in the lab. As an example, we are using lightsheet microscopy to image whole Drosophila embryos at subcellular resolution. This enables us to explore, for example, how individual cell fates are related to organism-level scaling.



The Saunders lab is based at the Mechanobiology Institute, a Research Centre of Excellence. We are also part of the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore.


The Saunders Lab is looking for qualified individuals to join our group. Contact Timothy Saunders at dbsste "at" nus.edu.sg

Drosophila embryo expressing Utrophin-eGFP

About MBI

T-Lab, NUS




The Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore (MBI) is a multi-disciplinary institute committed to developing new paradigms for biomedical research.
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Contact Us

Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore (MBI)
National University of Singapore
T-Lab, #10-01
5A Engineering Drive 1
Singapore 117411

Telephone: +65 66011552
Email: dbsste "at" nus.edu.sg