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Heather Mason
Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact Information

email: mason.christie@gmail.com

Education and Training

10/2001-2007 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 Migration"
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.