Click here to close Hello! We notice that you are using Internet Explorer, which is not supported by Xenbase and may cause the site to display incorrectly. We suggest using a current version of Chrome, FireFox, or Safari.


Bestman Lab

Research Area

The Bestman Lab studies developmental biology using Xenopus laevis (african clawed frog) tadpoles and sleep/neurodegeneration using Danio rerio (zebrafish) larvae. eural progenitor cells (NPCs) are cells that can divide to form neurons, or brain cells. We study how these cells divide to help our brain form normally -- and what factors prevent that from happening. Mitochondria provide cells with energy, but they also may play a role in causing NPCs to divide into neurons. We study how mitochondria move and work within NPCs. We can also change how mitochondria function to see how this affects the division of NPCs into neurons. Our model organism for our research is Xenopus laevis, tadpoles of the African clawed frog. We specifically are looking at the optic tectum, the visual center of the tadpole brain. What we study: REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is a prodromal marker of Parkinson's Disease. We study how sleep disruption affects dopaminergic cells and investigate pathways that may lead to dopaminergic cell loss. Microglia, the immune cells of the brain, clean up damaged cells -- and change shape while doing it. We observe how sleep disruption affects the levels/morphology of microglia and the number of cells undergoing apoptosis. Specifically, we look at the ventral diencephalon, the area of the zebrafish brain homologous to the human substantia nigra (where the majority of dopaminergic cell loss in Parkinson's occurs).

Current Members

Bestman, Jennifer E (Principal Investigator/Director) Contact


Institution: College of William and Mary

Web Page: