COOPERLAB

Our long femur and tibia give us our stride length, and our comparably short fingers allow us to grasp and manipulate objects with extraordinary manual dexterity. Yet each of the bones of our arms and legs formed in the embryo as tiny rods of similar size. How does each developing skeletal element elongate at a different rate and know when to stop to achieve the appropriate proportions?

 

Most of the genes required for limb development are needed by both the arms and legs. However many animals have very different fore and hindlimbs, and 95% of human congenital limb defects specifically affect the arms or legs but not both. How are shared genes deployed differently in the two pairs of limbs?

 

 

QUESTIONS THAT EXCITE US

The jerboa is a bipedal rodent with “normal” arms and unique legs that allow it to bound through the deserts of Africa and Asia. It has extraordinarily long hindlimbs (particularly the feet), fused metatarsals, three toes, and no foot muscles. Our lab capitalizes on these specialized features of the jerboa hindlimb, the strengths of mouse genetic engineering, and the close evolutionary relationship of the two species to understand the mechanisms that shape limb form and function in development and evolution. Read More...

 

HOW WE ANSWER

THESE AND MORE

MEET THE PEOPLE

 

We are a dynamic team of undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and technical staff united by our curiosity of organismal diversity.

OUR LATEST FINDINGS

 

Read more about the various projects in the lab and our work toward understanding the mechanisms of musculoskeletal development and evolution.

GET INVOLVED

 

Find out how to apply to join the lab or contribute toward funding our research goals.

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Kimberly Cooper

Assistant Professor of Biology

 

Learn more about our work from PRI's "Science Friday"

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