Research Interestsneural development and degeneration in the vertebrate neural retina
Research AreaMy laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular pathways controlling neural development and degeneration in the vertebrate neural retina. The retina is one of the most accessible parts of the central nervous system, and is of critical importance since disorders of eye development can lead to congenital blindness, while degeneration of retinal neurons can cause progressive blindness at later ages. In the developing retina we are studying how eye tissues are patterned and how retinal progenitors are directed to adopt specific retina cell fates. Our goal is to define the sequence of gene expression that governs neural differentiation in the retina, and understand how extrinsic signaling pathways modulate gene expression or function. For example, we have been investigating the mechanisms by which proneural transcription factors promote retinal neuron differentiation, and how they contribute to the ordered sequence of retinal histogenesis. We find that both the expression and activity of these factors are controlled by multiple signaling pathways, as well as through epigenetic regulation. Ultimately, the goal is to reveal general principles governing the development of neural stem cells and progenitors, which may inform efforts to harness these cells for the treatment of disease and injury of the nervous system.
Current MembersVetter, Monica L. (Principal Investigator/Director) Contact
Aldiri, Issam (Research Associate/Assistant)