Dept.: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Neuroscience Focus Groups: Cell and Molecular Neuroscience, Developmental Neurobiology, Disorders of the Nervous System, and Invertebrate Neurobiology.
The brain is one of the most complex organs of the human body, enabling us with sophisticated cognitive functions and complex behavior. The human brain contains ~ 86 billion neurons and ~ 85 billion non-neuronal cells. This cell diversity is generated largely by asymmetrically dividing neural stem cells, forming differentiating neurons while self-renewing the neural stem cell. Misregulation of asymmetric cell division can result in dramatic neurodevelopmental disorders such as microcephaly, manifested in small brains and mental retardation.
We are using fly neural stem cells as a model to study the molecular cell biology and mechanics of asymmetric stem cell division. Our current research focus is on (1) the molecular mechanisms and function underlying the establishment and maintenance of centrosome asymmetry and biased centrosome segregation. (2) The mechanisms and function of sibling cell size asymmetry in the fly brain. (3) The mechanical and biophysical mechanisms involved in ACD. (4) Neural stem cell plasticity and cell identity.