From brain development to brain regeneration
The presence of resident neural stem and precursor cells in the adult human central nervous system has ignited new hopes for brain regeneration in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. While the possibility of engaging adult neural stem cells for regeneration of central nervous system cells is exciting, we still understand little about the pathways that control neural stem cell function.
In my lab, we use animal and primary cell culture models to answer how neural stem cells build and repair the brain. Specifically, we are investigating how neural stem cells are regulated by: 1) Ankrd11, an epigenetic regulator involved in KBG neurodevelopmental syndrome and autism spectrum disorder; and 2) local environment in the neural stem cell niche.
Our goal is to use the lessons learned from normal brain development to design novel therapies for neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders. In this light, we are investigating the effect of developmentally important molecules on neural precursors in normal and injured adult murine brain. We are using mouse models of KBG Syndrome (neurodevelopmental disorder) and Multiple Sclerosis (neurodegenerative disorder) as pre-clinical models for engagement of neural stem cells for brain regeneration and repair.