Adult Neurogenesis and Neural Stem Cells
Neural stem cells continuously generate new functional neurons in the dentate gyrus of the adult mammalian brain. Evidence is accumulating that adult neurogenesis contributes to learning and memory processes as well as to the regulation of mood. Moreover, dysregulation of neurogenesis is evolving as a significant contributor to neuropsychiatric symptoms in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. The overall goal of our laboratory is to under of two central following questions:
a) Adult neurogenesis contributes to plasticity in the hippocampal network. Dysregulation of adult neurogenesis is associated with cognitive and behavioral deficits. How is the generation of new neurons from adult neural stem cells adjusted to optimize function of the hippocampal network? (more…)
b) The adult central nervous system shows only limited regenerative capacity. How can stem cells be harnessed for repair in neurological diseases? (more…)
My laboratory is tackling these questions by focusing on the identification of the signaling pathways and of the genetic programs that control the generation of new neurons in the adult hippocampus using a combination of techniques molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, epigenetics, virology, histology, and mouse genetics. We expect that our research will significantly contribute to the development of experimental strategies for the treatment neuropsychiatric diseases as they identify pathways that could be targeted for enhancement of neurogenesis under pathological conditions and for the recruitment of stem cells for repair of the central nervous system.