Assembly of Neural Circuits
Our research is directed toward understanding fundamental mechanisms that control the development of the nervous system. We use the fruit fly embryonic central nervous system and the mouse spinal cord to study these mechanisms.
Left: A late stage Drosophila embryo. Muscle cells are in blue. CNS and Motor axons are labeled in red. Midline cells are green.
Center: Three segments of a stage 16 embryo. All CNS axons are labeled (magenta) a subset of commissural neurons (green).
Right: Transverse section of an E11.5 mouse spinal cord. Neurofilament (green), Tag1-commissural axons (red), nuclei (blue).
The correct assembly of midline circuits is critical for coordinated sensory and motor control. There is striking conservation among the molecules that control the axon guidance events at the midline between invertebrate and vertebrate systems. Failure to form appropriate midline connections leads to abnormal motor control and can also lead to intellectual disability.