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UNC-Chapel Hill

Education and Training

University of Bergen, 1982-1984
St. Olaf College, BA, 1986
Duke University, PhD, 1994
Yale University School of Medicine, Postdoctoral, 1994-1998
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1998

Areas of Interest

The main goal of my lab is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying radial progenitor development, neuronal migration and neuronal connectivity in the mammalian cerebral cortex. In particular, our aim is to decipher the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the construction of the brain as it relates to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism or ciliopathies. We have combined genetic analysis of progenitor and neuronal development with in vivo examination of cortical precursor and neuron functions to understand how neurons organize themselves into layers and connect with each other in the cerebral cortex. Towards this goal, we are studying the following three related questions: (1) What are the signals that regulate the establishment, development and differentiation of radial glia, a key substrate for neurogenesis and neuronal migration in cerebral cortex?, (2) What are the signaling pathways that determine how neurons reach their appropriate positions in appropriate numbers in the developing cerebral cortex?, and (3) What are the specific molecular mechanisms that determine how neurons coalesce into distinct layers, differentiate, and connect with each other in the developing cerebral cortex? These studies provide a comprehensive framework to characterize the molecular signals that regulate the developmental dynamics of precursors and neurons essential for the emergence of cerebral cortical lamination and circuitry and help identify how disruptions in this process can cause neurodevelopmental disorders.