The main aim of our research is understanding the evolutionary origins of vertebrates. This major evolutionary transition happened around 550 million years ago. It gave rise to a revolutionary new body plan by assembling a number of novel morphological features that probably helped the first vertebrates to conquer water, earth and air.
The focus of our research is understanding the molecular and cellular basis of such morphological innovations. To this aim we use as a model system a modern representative of such transition: AMPHIOXUS.