King's College London

Research portal

Dr Robert Knight

Research interests

The Knight Laboratory aims to understand the molecular and cellular events that direct stem cells during musculoskeletal development and regeneration. Effective muscle function is essential for a good quality of life and is compromised in many craniofacial syndromes, ageing and degenerative diseases. Understanding how muscle progenitor cells are regulated in the head and body will ultimately lead to insights into the basis for soft tissue perturbations in patients and help drive a cure.

In order to investigate how gene function and cell behaviour direct normal development and repair of muscle, we use the zebrafish as an in vivo model. We take advantage of the optical transparency of the zebrafish to observe and evaluate cell behaviour under different genetic and pharmacological conditions.  For this purpose, we employ time-lapsed imaging using confocal and multiphoton microscopy. This allows us to obtain descriptive details of cell movements that we can then correlate with phenotypes and cell fate decisions. In tandem, we also use mammalian cell culture to precisely manipulate gene function and obtain quantitative readouts that can be used to model cell responses.

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