To date there
exists a schism between the bottom up approach of developmental
neuroscientists and the top down approach of system neuroscientists
and clinicians. Our aim is to bridge this gap.
My laboratory is focused on understanding the developmental origins of cortical interneurons. We are broadly interested in both the developmental genetic determinants that specify cortical interneuron subclasses and the rules by which specific subclasses integrate into the developing cerebral cortex. While we have been successful in determining the
requirement for specific genes in the specification of neural
populations, the inevitable perinatal lethality caused by
their loss has precluded understanding
their role in creating functional neural circuits. Our present focus is on 1) using conditional gain and loss of function approaches to study the contribution of specific genes to cortical interneuron diversity and 2) the development of genetic tools to study cortical microcircuitry. Beyond this we wish to determine whether we can direct neural stem cells to particular cortical interneuronal identities and whether cells engineered in this manner can be used in the repair or
rebuilding of neural circuitry.