The Bielas lab is located in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School. We perform collaborative human genetics research for a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders. We aim to identify novel disease genes and provide functional and clinical relevance to these discoveries. We are particularly interested in understanding the cell and molecular mechanisms of mammalian neurogenesis, the step of neurodevelopment that generates neurons in the brain.
Mammalian brain development is orchestrated by a complex progression of processes: neural stem cell proliferation, neuronal commitment and migration of postmitotic neurons. Proper development of the billions of neurons that composed the brain underlies normal brain size and function. Perturbations in these processes are a common hallmark of structural brain defects. We use mammalian models of brain development, both human pluripotent stem cell and mouse, to understand the pathophysiology associated with human disease genes. To address these questions we use a combination of genetics, bioinformatics, epigenetics, molecular and cell biology, protein biochemistry, histology and optical imaging.