Post-doctoral research on the role of Notch signaling
in the development of the mammalian forebrain
1995-2001 Ph.D. in Neurobiology, Harvard University.
Thesis: "The Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal
Advisor: Gabriel Corfas
1990-1994 B.A. in Neuroscience, Amherst College
I am interested in the signals involved
in the formation of the mammalian central nervous system.
The specification and proliferation of neuronal progenitors
is one of the earliest events in development of the forebrain.
Gain-of-function studies have revealed that the Notch signaling
pathway likely acts to prevent neuronal differentiation and
to maintain cells as dividing, multipotent progenitors. However,
the early embryonic lethality of Notch1 null mutant mice has
prohibited the analysis of the development of the central
nervous system in the absence of the Notch1 gene. To overcome
this obstacle, I have used conditional mutagenesis in which
Notch function is genetically removed specifically within
the forebrain. These studies will allow me to characterize
how Notch signaling normally functions during forebrain development.
The mechanism by which regional populations of neuronal progenitors
are established and regulated is particularly intriguing and,
to this end, I am focusing on how Notch differentially affects
specific neuronal progenitor populations.