James Sharpe

James Sharpe

Centre de Regulació Genòmica

Life & Medical Sciences

1997: PhD MRC National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, London (UK). "Cis-regulatory mechanisms of the Hox genes in mouse development". Lab of Dr. Robb Krumlauf. 1997-1998: Postdoc on Xenopus development, University of Chile. 1998: MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh. Postdoc on computational approaches to study mouse limb development. 2001: Development of a 3D optical imaging technique and introduction of the term "Optical Projection Tomography", commercialised under the name Bioptonics. 2003: Group Leader in Edinburgh. 2006: Senior Group Leader at the Centre de Regulació Genòmica, Barcelona (Spain). 2011: Acting Coordinator of the EMBL-CRG Systems Biology Program. 2014: Coordinator of the EMBL-CRG Systems Biology Program. 2017: Head of the EMBL Barcelona.

Research interests

The physical complexity of a human being, or even a single organ, is truly astounding. The goal of my lab is to understand how the activities of gene networks controls the millions of cells which make up our organs – allowing them to communicate with each other, to decide what to do at each moment during embryo development: whether to divide, which way to move, and which cells types to become (cartilage, bone, connective tissue, etc.) We believe this will only be achieved by integrating information into a computer model, and to this end we are developing new imaging and computational methods to understand one example of organogenesis – vertebrate limb development. We combine various systems biology approaches to integrate data on cell activities and gene networks into a realistic 4D computer simulation of the process. This is a truly interdisciplinary endeavour, and the lab is therefore composed of physicists, engineers and computer scientists as well as biologists.

Selected publications

Sharpe J 2019, ‘Wolpert’s French Flag: what’s the problem?‘, Development 146(24) pii: dev185967

– Germann P, Marin-Riera M & Sharpe J 2019, ‘ya||a: GPU-powered spheroid models for mesenchyme and epithelium‘. Cell Syst , 8(3):261-266.e3