Ben Allen

Ben Allen



Research in our laboratory explores fundamental aspects of Hedgehog signaling, a key developmental pathway that regulates nearly all aspects of embryonic development, ranging from the numbers of fingers and toes on your hands and feet, to the numbers and types of neurons in your spinal cord. Our goal is to understand how this pathway functions during normal embryonic development so that we can explore how this pathway goes awry in a number of different human diseases.


The most interesting aspect of our research is the ability to apply our understanding of fundamental concepts in developmental biology to the study and treatment of human disease. This allows us to not only gain greater insight into basic aspects of biology, but to use this insight to directly impact the lives of patients suffering from Hedgehog-driven diseases.


As a mentor, the most exciting aspect of my job is to watch the growth of students in my laboratory. Observing their progression from beginning graduate students to world-class scientists is a real privilege and I enjoy their success just as much, if not more, than they do.


I think the greatest strength of UM and CDB is the genuinely caring and collegial nature of our Department. In the five years that I have been at UM, I have established extremely valuable collaborations that have allowed me to increase the pace of our research far beyond anything our laboratory could accomplish on our own. It is the high quality of my colleagues and their willingness to work together on new ideas and projects that distinguishes UM from other peer institutions.