Mammalian Brain Development

The cerebral cortex underlies our most sophisticated cognitive and perceptual abilities. The proper generation, migration, and integration of diverse neuronal sub-types into functional neural circuits is critical for the proper development of the cerebral cortex. Neurological disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression, and obsessive compulsive behavior, have been linked to developmental defects of the cerebral cortex.

Our laboratory’s research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that precisely regulate the generation of the neurons and glia that constitute the cerebral cortex and determine how they are wired into functional neural circuits.

Our group uses a combination of genetic loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches to investigate genes that regulate the differentiation of seemingly homogeneous neural stem cells into the diverse neuronal sub-types that populate the mature cerebral cortex. We are currently identifying candidate genes that regulate cortical projection neuron fates and testing their functions during differentiation of neural stem cells during development.