John Wallingford began his research trying to figure out how a fertilized egg changes from a small cluster of cells to something with shape—a head and a tail. How do tissues organize themselves to create that shape? Cilia, the small tails once thought to be mainly for swimming, turn out to be crucial for communication—helping cells know where to go and what to do. When cilia break down, the consequences can be devastating for a developing fetus. Impaired cilia are responsible for a newly recognized class of human disorders—the ciliopathies. Wallingford is particularly interested in the role of cilia in neural tube defects. The basic discoveries now being made in frogs could one day lead to a better way to prevent these potentially devastating disorders in humans.