We are characterizing the molecular mechanisms that regulate how spinal cord neuronal types acquire their proper identity. We have used mouse genetics and in vivo studies with chick embryos to study the function of transcription factors, miRNAs, and cell polarity proteins. Increasingly, we have also begun to use mouse and human embryonic stem cells to characterize the molecular systems involved in regulating cell identity.
We are interested in understanding the signaling pathways that control motor neuron axon navigation. We have used genetic screens and in vitro assays to identify axon guidance molecules. More recently we have begun to rely on live cell imaging of growth cones to investigate the cell biology of axon growth.
We are using mouse genetics to investigate the cellular and molecular underpinnings of the spinal cord central pattern generator. These experiments rely on electrophysiological recordings of evoked locomotor activity and optical methods for characterizing the embryonic formation of this circuitry.
|Hindbrain Motor Neurons|