The branch's mission is to develop a comprehensive national program for supporting research and training focused on understanding the biological processes that control normal embryonic development, as well as the mechanisms that underlie molecular susceptibility and etiology of structural birth defects. Major program areas for the branch include developmental genetics, systems developmental biology, early embryonic development and differentiation, biophysics/biomechanics of development, developmental neurobiology and neural crest differentiation, organogenesis, regeneration and regenerative medicine, stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, and structural birth defects.
Research projects supported by the branch are primarily basic science in nature and use a variety of animal models, with a priority of elucidating the biochemical, molecular, genetic, and cellular mechanisms of embryonic development and an ultimate goal of understanding the causes of structural birth defects. Efforts to foster interactions between basic scientists and clinicians with common interests in structural birth defects are particularly important to the branch.
- Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program: Discovery of the Genetic Basis of Childhood Cancers and of Structural Birth Defects (PAR-16-150) This FOA invites applicants to use whole genome sequencing at a Kids First-supported sequencing center to elucidate the genetic contribution to childhood cancers, and to investigate the genetic etiology of structural birth defects.