B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science)
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Preferred method of communication
Research and teaching
- Brain development
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
The main goal of our research is to identify fundamental principles governing the construction of neural circuits in development and disease. Towards this goal, we are currently focused on the dynamic function of the primary cilium, a tiny signaling antenna of a cell. Primary cilia are present virtually on all cell types and are essential for coordinating major cell functions in response to environmental signals. The critical role of primary cilia in brain development is evident in human disease states called ciliopathies, where defective cilia lead to brain malformations associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and intellectual disabilities. We use a combination of mouse genetics, innovative cilia-specific signaling modulation, and viral-genetic circuit mapping to delineate primary cilia in the emergence of neuronal morphology and connectivity, key steps in neural circuits formation.
By assembling a holistic view of how primary cilia translate environmental signals to impact neural development, we aim not only to uncover hitherto undefined cell biological mechanisms fundamental for neural circuit construction and malformation, but also to advance our understandings of how genetics and environment interact to contribute to the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Another goal of our work is to understand how the cerebellum functionally wires up with the cerebral cortex and how this circuitry emerges during development. This information is necessary to understand the function of cerebellum in higher order brain functions and the contribution of cerebellar malformations to mental disorders.