Physical Biology of Developing Systems Lab

We aim to understand space and time mechanisms of patterning in vertebrate embryonic tissues. For this purpose, we combine 1- quantitative state-of-art microscopy, 2- single cell level analysis of signal dynamics, and 3- data-informed predictive modeling of systems level biophysics. Zebrafish with its translucent, accessible, and multiplexed early embryonic development as well as tractable genetics is our favorite model organism! Broader vision of our research is discovering the conserved mechanisms of sequential segmentation across vertebrates and design principles of morphogen positional information in embryos. We are located at McMaster University.

Underlying Principles of Somitogenesis

How do vertebrate embryonic cells make repetitive decisions? What controls the robustness of embryo patterning during somite segmentation?

Systems Control of Morphogen Signaling

How do cells sense their position in an embryo? How do cells both create and interpret positional information through diffusive morphogens?


M. Fethullah Simsek

Assistant Professor

Department of Biology

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Muhammed is a physicist by training from his alma mater Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. He holds a Ph.D. from Physics Department of University at Buffalo (cell membrane biophysics) and did postdoctoral research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY and Cincinnati Children's Hospital (developmental systems biology) before joining McMaster University.

Dila Aycan

Ph.D. Student

McMaster Biology

Dila started in the lab in January 2024 and she works on the mechanisms of regulation of the Fgf signalling gradient. Dila graduated from U of T in 2019 and did her Master's in the Univ of Ottawa. After her MSc, Dila worked as a Research Assistant at BlueRock Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA and as a Science Editor at Xtalks in Toronto, ON.

Hamdan Raneef

Thesis Student

McMaster Biology

Hamdan is in the Molecular Biology and Genetics program and will be starting his thesis research in September 2024 investigating regulations of the ERK pathway in developing embryo. He aims to pursue a career in molecular biology/biomedical research. Outside of academics, Hamdan is an avid soccer fan, enjoys volunteering at the community center and food bank, and loves traveling.

Alina Altinbaeva

Undergraduate Student

McMaster Biochemistry

Alina is a third-year student at McMaster, pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization. She joined pBODS lab in May 2024 through the McMaster O.U.R. Summer Research Experience Award. Her current research is building on pharmaceutical recovery of somite segmentation with various drugs.

Ciara Kinsella

Undergraduate Student

McMaster Biology

Ciara began working in the lab in May 2024 as a recipient of a Summer Research Experience Award. She has loved science since she was a kid and is thrilled to be working on a project exploring the use of pulsate drug treatments to recover somites in clock-mutant embryos. She aims to pursue graduate studies in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and have a career in research.

Future Shoal Member

A curious mind puzzled with the wonders of the living systems!


  • March, 2024

    Two great news within the last week of March: Our lab is now funded by CFI John Evans Leaders Fund, and NSERC Discovery Grant!

  • February, 2024

    Our lab is ready to move in to get the experiments cooking!

Contact Us

pBODS Lab has opened in January, 2024! If you are interested in joining pBODS lab, please send us an email including three things: 1- your CV, 2- a brief description of your past research exposure, 3- a brief answer for "what did you find interesting in this lab and how does it align with your future plans?"

Undergraduate students: Please inquire about joining the lab for the fullfilment of 3rd and 4th year independent research projects and theses.

Prospective graduate students: Please apply through the School of Graduate Studies for either Master's or Ph.D. admission. Please note the application requirements for prospective students and contact Dr. Simsek if you intend to submit an application.

  • Address

    Life Sciences Building Rm. 421
    McMaster University
    1280 Main Street West
    Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1
  • Email
  • Phone

    (905) 525-9140 ext.21763
  • Social