Profile and Department: Associate Professor, Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto
The production of nerve cells in the brain (neurogenesis) is a life-long process that is evolutionarily conserved. Neurogenesis is tightly controlled with regional specializations in neural stem cell activity that is critical for the formation of distinct functional domains in the vertebrate brain. Moreover, neurogenesis in the adult brain may contribute to the structural changes that underlie neural plasticity, which is crucial for sensory processing, learning and memory. My lab investigates the fundamental questions of how the development of neural stem cells is initiated in the early embryo, and how neurogenesis contributes to the generation and maintenance of regional nerve cell diversity throughout life. We use mouse and zebrafish as complementary vertebrate model systems in order to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms that govern vertebrate neurogenesis.