Professor, Department of Neuroscience
3020 Graves Hall
333 W. 10th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
Areas of Expertise
- Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
- Postdoctoral Training: University of Washington, Dr. Thomas Reh
- PhD: University of Calgary
Current Research Description
In general terms, my lab studies neural development, regeneration, and survival. In particular, we are focused on the development, regeneration and survival of cells in the neurosensory tissue of the eye, the retina. We are studying retinal regeneration from neural stem cells and from the major support cells of the retina, the Müller glia. The use of stem cells for neuron replacement and trophic support holds the potential to treat degenerative diseases of the central nervous system. My work has demonstrated that the mature chicken retina contains a zone of neural stem cells at the peripheral edge of the retina that is capable of proliferating and generating neurons at increased rates with the application of growth factors. In addition, I have demonstrated that mature Müller glia in the retina are capable of becoming neuron-producing retinal precursor cells in response to acute damage or growth factors.
Ongoing projects include the following: (1) understanding the mechanisms that control the proliferation and differentiation of retinal stem cells, (2) mechanisms that regulate the maturation of the support cells of the retina, the Müller glia, (3) mechanisms that regulate the ability of Müller glia to de-differentiate, proliferate, and become retinal stem cells, and (4) identification of mechanisms to enhance neural differentiation of cells produced by Muller glia-derived progenitors. My lab uses a combination of pharmacological and cell type-specific inducible genetic manipulations in chick and mouse model systems.