Areas of Interest
We study neurogenesis, during embryonic development and, in adults, during regeneration induced by an injury. We use the retina as the model brain tissue and employ a small fresh ager fish, zebrafish, as the animal model. The retina of the zebrafish is unique in that its embryonic growth is amazingly fast. This rapid growth, plus the array of genetic tools available to us, renders the zebrafish retina an invaluable model for studying how the brain develops. Further, and also unique to the fish, the adult retina contains a permanent populations of neural stem cells, so injuries to the retina are fully repaired by a process of regenerative neurogenesis. This is in striking contrast to the human brain and retina, where injuries do not stimulate regeneration and death of neurons results in permanent disabilities. Our broad goal, therefore, is to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate this regenerative neurogenesis. This work relates directly to understanding injuries to the human central nervous system and gaining insights into therapeutic approaches envisioned for treating these injuries.