报告人： Dr. Tao Sun
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Cornell University Weill Medical College
The proper development and function of the human brain is controlled by precise regulation of gene expression.? Many human neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, chizophrenia and autism, are associated? with abnormal structural formation and connection in developing brain.? The causes of these neurological disorders are poorly understood.
In my lab, we are examining a novel gene regulation mechanism that is essential in normal brain development and under disease conditions.? We have found that noncoding small RNAs, called microRNAs (miRNAs), play a critical role in controlling the brain size.? Without miRNAs, the cortical size is significantly reduced due to decreased proliferation and ncreased cell? death of neural stem cells and neural progenitors.? Moreover, we have identified specific miRNAs that control proliferation of cortical progenitors.? In addition, we have found that miRNAs are also important in determining specific motor neuron cell fate in developing spinal cord.? These studies have provided tools for further gene therapy by manipulating miRNA expression in neural stem cells for the treatment of spinal cord injuries.
In summary, our goals are to reveal molecular mechanisms that regulate normal development of the central nervous system, identify genetic causes of human neurological iseases, and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for human mental and neurodegeneration disorders.