We are studying various forms of cell interactions underlying the development of multicellular structures, such as tissues, organs and embryos, using zebrafish gastrulation as an assay system. Gastrulation is the first major morphogenetic process in the development of most metazoan organisms, leading to the formation of the three germ layers - ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm - and the establishment of the embryonic body axis.

The picture shows typical approaches of how to visualize and analyze heterotypic cell aggregates consisting of primary zebrafish ectoderm (red) and mesoderm (green) progenitor cells by labeling either the plasma membrane (upper right and lower left quadrant), nuclei (lower right quadrant), or reconstructing cell outlines from nuclear positions (upper left quadrant).