Ben A. Barres
Department of Neurobiology
Fairchild Building, D-235
Stanford, CA 94305-5401
1994 Searle Scholar
Our laboratory is interested in the development and function of glial cells in the mammalian central nervous system. To understand the interactions between neurons and glial cells we have developed methods to highly purify and culture rodent retinal ganglion cells (neurons) as well as the glial cell types they interact with, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, from the rodent optic nerve. We are using a large variety of methods to address these issues including cell purification by immunopanning, tissue culture, patch clamping, immunohistochemistry and molecular biology. Currently we are focussing on several questions:
We have found evidence of several novel glial signals that induce the onset of myelination, the clustering of axonal sodium channels, the survival of retinal ganglion cells, and the formation of synapses. We are characterizing these processes and are attempting to identify these glial-derived molecules.
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