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Welcome to The Baldwin Lab!

We study the development and function of astrocytes, a major glial cell type, in the mammalian brain. We use primary tissue culture, mouse genetics, super resolution microscopy, proteomics, and molecular biology to understand how astrocytes establish and balance their connections with other brain cell types to orchestrate proper brain development. We are also investigating how defects in astrocyte development facilitate the pathogenesis of neurological disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and leukodystrophy. Check out our Research page to learn more!

Fluorescently labeled astrocytes

A Brief History of Glia

What is the function of glial cells in neural centers? The answer is still not known, and the problem is even more serious because it may remain unsolved for many years to come until physiologists find direct methods to attack it.”    -Santiago Ramon y Cajal, 1911

The father of modern neuroscience, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, recognized 110 years ago that glial cells were more than just the “glue” holding the brain together. However, the function of glial cells in the nervous system remained relatively unexplored for nearly a century. Long overlooked as simple “support cells,” recent advances in our understanding of glial biology over the past three decades, combined with new tools to target and manipulate glial cells in the brain, have uncovered glial cells as key regulators of brain development and function. There are many more questions than there are answers, and we now have the tools to point us toward discovery. It’s an exciting time to be a glial biologist. Come join us!

 

Trained Mentor by the Office of Graduate Education