Welcome to the Pfaff Laboratory.
Our goal is to understand the fundamental principles that control the specification and connectivity of spinal neurons involved in locomotion, particularly motor neurons. Over the long term these studies should provide insight into the basic principles involved in the proper formation of the nervous system, as well as provide practical information for treatments of spinal cord injury and diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, post polio syndrome, and spinal muscle atrophy. The approaches used in the lab include experiments with genetically modified mice, developmental studies with chicken embryos, and differentiation assays with ES cells. Currently the lab has three areas of investigation: the mechanisms that control gene regulation during neuronal fate specification, the analysis of axon guidance, and studies of the central pattern generator circuitry involved in locomotion.