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by cynthia

Elizabeth M. Simpson, Ph.D.

June 24, 2011 in by cynthia

Senior Scientist, CMMT at CFRI
Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, UBC
Associate Member, Department of Pyschiatry, UBC

Dr. Simpson research focus is on mouse models of developmental brain and behaviour disorders, stem cells and neurogenesis, and gene therapy.

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by admin

James D. Lauderdale, Ph.D.

February 28, 2011 in by admin

Principal Investigator,
Assistant Professor, Department of Cellular Biology,
College of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia

Dr. Lauderdale study aniridia in humans and the Small eye trait in rodents. Small eye is the mouse model for aniridia. Aniridia and Small eye are both resulted from mutations in the PAX6 gene. Dr. Lauderdale’s long-term goal is to develop therapies that can correct genetic and acquired to the CNS.

Partial loss-of-function PAX6 mutations cause eye malformations in mammals. Complete mutations result in absence of the eyes and nose, loss of forebrain structures, disruption of axon tracts, abnormal neuronal migration, and misspecification of neurons.

Dr. Lauderdale have also identified a novel gene, tentatively named La Femme d’à Coté (LFDC), that is disrupted in some of these cases. This gene is also present in rodents, zebrafish, fruit fly, and worms (C. elegans). In mice, LFDC is expressed both in the developing eye and in discrete domains within the developing CNS. This expression pattern suggests that, like Pax6, LFDC may have multiple roles in neural development.

Zebrafish embryos are used for detailed studies of the mechanisms underlying development of the forebrain because they develop rapidly, are transparent, and have a relatively simple, extensively characterized nervous system. These characteristics facilitate visualization of developing brain regions, including specific neurons and their axons. Additionally, zebrafish embryos can be manipulated experimentally with many different ways.


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