How are the right types of cells produced in the right place, at the right time, in the right amounts in a developing tissue?
We study these questions in the central nervous system (CNS). Despite its complexity, the CNS is assembled in a remarkably precise and reliable manner. This precision is necessary for the wiring of nerves into the functional neural circuits that gives the CNS its function. Our research focuses on the spinal cord, which is the part of the CNS that contains the nerves that allow us to sense our environment and respond to it by moving muscles. Our goal is to identify the genes involved in spinal cord development and determine how they work to produce and organize the different types of nerve cells found in this part of the CNS. This will contribute to understanding the development of the spinal cord as well as shed light on diseased and damaged nervous systems.