My PhD Research
Generation and maintenance of the mammalian brain by stem cells.
Our lab previously categorized a novel type of neural stem cell called the primitive neural stem cell that arises by default from mouse embryonic stem cells in vitro or can be derived from pre-neurulation stages of the developing mouse embryo. Alongside our collaborators in Dr. Cindi Morshead's lab, we have found that these early primitive neural stem cells persist throughout development and into the adult brain, where they comprise a relatively quiescent population. Primitive neural stem cells act as a reserve pool of stem cells in the adult brain, and we recently published how these cells can be specifically targeted for activation, which may be useful in cases of injury or disease.
My current project aims to study the direct progeny of primitive neural stem cells and the other more common GFAP-expressing neural stem cell population using clonal lineage tracing strategies. I have constructed a hierarchy of these neural stem cells and their progeny that elucidates the intermediate steps between precursors and mature cell types. I am currently using single cell transcriptomics to better characterize these cells and answer fundamental questions about the gene expression profile of lineage priming.