The scientific goal of the Laboratory of Experimental Ontogeny (LEO) is to study the genetic and morphogenetic mechanisms that give rise to form, structure and functional organisation during ontogenic development. We use a trans-disciplinary approach to investigate developmental processes in which morphogenesis has a dramatic impact on embryo patterning to address open questions in developmental biology. Our strategy takes advantage of the transparency and genetic amenability of teleost embryos to extract in vivo detailed information on the genetic control of morphogenesis. Furthermore, in an attempt to achieve a comprehensive view of morphogenesis, we exploit the comparison of developmental processes among species to dissect conserved and divergent principles of development. [more]

Research Program


We investigate four main aspects of biological patterning during development: the origin or genetic control (GENE),the expression through morphogenesis (MORPH), the evolutionary and developmental transformations (EVO-DEVO), and the events of alteration with Biomedical impact (BIOMED).

These four aspects are addressed in the context of three main research topics:

. BRAIN ASYMMETRY - we use the parapineal-habenula-IPN circut of teleosts to study the mechanisms that control the development of brain asymmetry in vertebrates. [more]

. EPITHELIAL ORGANOGENESIS - we use the zebrafish Kupffer's vesicle to study the cellular to supra-cellular mechanisms underlying epithelial organogenesis. [more]

. EPIBOLY and GASTRULATION - we use zebrafish and annual killifish embryos to study the mechanisms underlying individual cell behaviour in development and disease. [more]

News & Events

Cellmorphodynamics Latin America 2014 is a series of scientific events taking place in Santiago, Chile, which aims to foster scientific interactions, train young investigators and disseminate the field of cell and tissue morphodynamics in Latin America.

International Course: ‘Optics, Forces & Development’. May 5-16th 2014. LEO and SCIAN-lab, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile.

International Symposium
Visualisation and manipulation of signals and forces in developing tissues’ Telefónica Open Future Branch of UrbanStation, Santiago, Chile.

Open Lecture: ‘Origin of animal form in development and evolution’. Former National Congress Building in Santiago, Chile.

Learn about our history and philosophy. [more]

View courses and training opportunities. [more]

Fish Facility
Visit zebrafish, medaka and annual fish. [more]

Follow up meetings, seminars & events. [more]

Useful links
Evo-Devo -

LEO is founder member of "Biomedical Neuroscience Institue" (BNI). [more]


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