Position title: Principal Investigator | Professor
Phone: (608) 263-4554
RESEARCH INTERESTS - Work in my laboratory focuses on the intracellular mechanisms that regulate growth cone motility and behavior. Growth cones are sensory-motor specializations at the tips of all growing axons and dendrites that detect and transduce extracellular cues into guided outgrowth.
Current Post Docs
I utilize a pluripotent stem cell model to investigate guidance mechanisms in derived human neurons of the early CNS. I hope to elucidate neurite outgrowth and guidance responses to cues and their underlying intracellular signaling cascades, with an emphasis on the role of local protein synthesis at the growth cone. Stem cell modeling also facilitates our study of guidance phenotypes occurring in human neurodevelopmental diseases including Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Current Graduate Students
I am interested in understanding how human stem cell-derived photoreceptors extend axons in vitro and in situ in 3D retinal organoids. These cells are promising candidates to use for cell transplant therapies to cure blindness caused by diseases such as cone/rod dystrophies and Age-related Macular Degeneration. By understanding how human photoreceptors develop in vitro and in human organoids, I hope to better understand aspects of normal human retinal development and to better inform transplant therapies.
Current Undergraduate Students
* Denotes Hilldale Fellow