Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
College of Physicians and Surgeons
701 W.168th Street; HHSC 726, Box 140
Center of Neurobiology & Behavior
New York, NY 10032
2000 Searle Scholar
The focus of the lab is the study of the molecular mechanisms that lead to the generation of specific neural circuits in the brain, which in turn subserve specific behaviors. We are interested in the developmental aspect of neural circuit generation as well as later aspects of maintenance and modification of neural circuits, which presumably are the basis of learning and memory processes. Due to the complexity of the vertebrate brain, we use the much simpler nervous system of the nematode C. elegans as a model system. We know the complete connectivity of every single neuron in C. elegans and single cell laser ablations have identified specific neural circuits required to execute specific behaviors. The completely sequenced genome of C. elegans as well as its amenability to classical genetic methods allow the identification of molecules that are required for the neural differentiation and the generation of specific neural circuits.
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