Gene Manipulation: Possible Links to Schizophrenia and Autism

The mammalian cerebral cortex is responsible for higher functions of the brain, such as perception, cognition and memory.  My lab focuses on how the developing cortex is organized into different areas specialized for different functions.  We have found that cell groups, called signaling centers, at the edges of the embryonic cortex, release signaling proteins that form gradients across the cortical tissue.  These protein gradients provide positional information that directs the development of the cortical “area map”.  Interestingly, these signaling centers are close to regions of the cortex implicated in human mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and autism, suggesting that perturbations of the signaling centers in development could have serious consequences on mental health.  In this project, I propose to establish, in mice, a new way to perturb signaling in one of these signaling centers, termed the cortical hem.  This new approach should allow us to uncover the functions of this and other signaling centers with great precision, and to determine what goes wrong with cortical development when these centers do not function properly.

Other Grants

Sarah C. Goetz, Ph.D., Duke University
Uncovering a Novel Role for Primary Cilia in Eph/Ephrin Signaling in Neurons
2022 Seed GrantSarah C. Goetz, Ph.D. Duke University Women’s Council Seed Grant Primary cilia are tiny projections from cells that function like an antenna- they receive and may also send…
Erin M. Gibson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Circadian Regulation of Oligodendroglial Senescence and Metabolomics in Aging
2022 Seed GrantErin M. Gibson, Ph.D.Stanford University The brain consists of two main classes of cells, neurons and glia. Glia make-up more than half of the cells in the brain…
Yvette Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Dynamic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity During Spatial Exploration
2022 Seed GrantYvette Fisher, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley The Virginia (Ginny) & Roger Carlson Seed Grant Cognitive flexibility is critical for appropriately adjusting thoughts and behaviors to meet changing demands…
Byoung Il Bae, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Unique Vulnerability of Developing Human Cerebral Cortex to Loss of Centrosomal Protein
2022 Seed GrantByoung Il Bae, Ph.D.University of Connecticut Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Seed Grant The cerebral cortex is the largest and outermost part of the human brain. It is…