Project 2. Gene Regulatory Networks during Neural Stem Cell Neurogenesis
Neural stem cells are primary progenitors isolated from the mammalian Central Nervous System (CNS) at the embryonic and adult stage. They are valuable tools in novel strategies of gene therapy for human diseases, including nervous system repair and regeneration. In our lab, we use differentiating neural stem cells for modelling neurodevelopmental diseases including Rett Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). By using geneome-wide and candidate gene approaches, combined with molecular and cellular biology techniques and gene therapy strategies, we investigate genetic and epigenetic regulatory networks during neural stem cell differentiation. We have a clear focus on DNA methylation, genes with direct impact in neurological disorders, brain development and homeobox genes. Our research will help to understand how deficiencies at the molecular and cellular levels would lead to impaired brain function and will ultimately be useful for developing effective therapeutic strategies that impact brain function.