NEURONAL ACTIVITY DEPENDENT REGULATION OF CNS-PRECURSOR CELLS IN HEALTH AND DISEASE
Supervisor - Dr Thora Karadottir
Originally being from Nuremberg, Germany, I completed my undergraduate studies in Interdisciplinary Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Zurich, Switzerland (with a year abroad at Imperial College London) and then moved to Heidelberg, Germany, for my master studies in Molecular Biosciences. I completed my master thesis at Harvard Medical School at Boston, MA, and then joined the 4-year Wellcome Trust Ph.D. programme in Stem Cell Biology.
I have just finished the first year of laboratory rotations I recently joined Thora Karadottir’s laboratory for my Ph.D. project.
Subject groups/Research projects
Myelination of neural axons is essential for normal brain function as it ensures fast information transmission and axonal maintenance. Myelin sheaths are provided by oligodendrocytes, which originate from oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). In many brain white matter diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, stroke and leukodystrophies, myelin is lost and even though OPCs are recruited to the sites of lesion and capable of repair, remyelination often fails, leading to physical and mental disability. In order to promote repair in white matter diseases, it is essential to understand how terminal differentiation of OPCs is regulated.
Recently, we have shown that the synaptic input from active neurons to OPCs regulates their proliferation and may promote myelination of active axons . A better understanding of the effects of synaptic input on OPCs might therefore have implications for the treatment of demyelinating diseases.
In my Ph.D. project, I want to address the following questions:
1. What are the intracellular signalling pathways mediating the effects of synaptic input?
2. How does synaptic input regulate terminal differentiation of OPCs/myelination?
Dr. Colin Watts (http://www.neuroscience.cam.ac.uk/directory/profile.php?colinwatts)