My research interests lie broadly in the development of the nervous system, and more specifically in the molecular events that drive the production of new neurons (termed neurogenesis). We once thought that the central nervous system (including your brain) was hard wired. This meant that if you suffered a traumatic injury or stroke, the subsequent brain tissue lost was gone forever. More importantly, the functions associated with those lost parts of the brain were gone for the rest of your life.
New research has suggested that certain parts of the nervous system contain cells resembling stem cells -cells that can divide and produce new neurons- even in the adult! Although this is promising research, there is still so much that we don't yet understand.
My research aims to fill specific knowledge gaps by addressing fundamental questions regarding tissue organization and patterning during ontogeny, and the signaling mechanisms that are either beneficial or detrimental to the production of new neurons. My research has implications for the fields of regenerative medicine, nervous system trauma and the potential treatment of neurological disorders. My lab aims to address the following:
1. Growth and expansion of neural progenitors
2. Molecular signaling events that drive neurogenesis
3. How the extracellular matrix affects neurogenesis
4. Assessing how environmental chemicals change neurogenesis and nervous system development
I use genetic, molecular and cell biology
approaches in my research. My past studies have mostly used mice. Currently I'm
using chick embryos. Chick embryos are ideal for undergraduate research as they
allow students to explore basic embryology, cell transplantation, cell fate,
specification and commitment (in ovo
and in vitro), and manipulate gene
expression. I have developed an engaging research plan to answer fundamental questions in developmental neurobiology.
Undergraduates welcome! Come be part of a stimulating research program where you can perform basic embryology, molecular and cellular biology, and learn how to capture stunning pictures using the confocal microscope. Interested? Drop by my office to discuss your future!