Neuronal and glial Cell development

The complexity of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) lies both in the number of different cell types generated during development and in the intricate manner in which they interact to form functional circuits. We are interested in two broad questions:

  1. What are the molecular mechanisms regulating axonal growth during development and how these mechanisms can be activated to promote axonal regeneration after injury. My lab is interested in studying the cellintrinsic mechanisms that regulate axon growth during development. Towards this end, we have identified a transcriptional pathway that is critical for developmental axon growth. Using molecular biology and cell biology approaches, we are studying the mechanisms by which genes in this pathway mediate axon growth. The knowledge gained from these experiments will be used to study whether or how these mechanisms are affected after nerve injury and whether these mechanisms can be reactivated to promote axonal regeneration in the central nervous system.
  2. What are the mechanisms regulating neural stem cells to astroglial differentiation in the brain? How do these mechanisms go awry in gliomas, the major tumours in the brain?
    We have identified a novel pathway that is critical for astrocyte differentiation and maintenance in the mouse brain. Studies are underway to understand the underlying mechanisms that mediate astrocyte differentiation and development. It is our hope that the genetic pathways identified in our studies can enable us to understand better the biology of gliomas that have their origin in astrocytes.

PI : Dr.Naren RamananĀ (Webpage)