The mammalian central nervous system (CNS) contains perhaps the richest array of cell types among vertebrate tissues.
During development, neural stem cells serve as the ultimate origin of all three major cell types in the mature CNS, namely neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. These cells are further specified to a huge variety of subtypes at topologically defined positions and specific developmental time windows. This highly orchestrated cell genesis is a fundamental step in the assembly and subsequent functions of the complex neural circuitry.
The ultimate goal of our laboratory is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these differentiation and specification events during neural development. A variety of techniques and tools have been used to conduct research including in vitro culture of neural stem cells, retrovirus- and adenovirus-mediated gene manipulations, in ovo electroporation in chick embryos and analyses of genetically modified mice.