Fanie Barnabé-Heider, Ph.D.
Regulation and recruitment of endogenous neural stem cells
Neural stem cells remain in the adult nervous system. They represent an attractive therapeutic target to treat disorders. On the other hand, deregulation of stem cells during embryogenesis can cause severe diseases.
Spinal cord stem cells: The spinal cord has been regarded as non-regenerative leaving diseases without new treatment for decades. We recently have shown that all spinal cord stem cell potential is contained within ependymal cells, which are activated upon injury, revealing an unexpected level of endogenous plasticity.
Our aims are:
- To investigate the developmental and functional heterogeneity of ependymal cells.
- To identify the molecular regulators of spinal cord stem cells.
- To study the cancer stem cell potential of developing spinal cord ependymal cells.
Cerebral cortex development
The cerebral cortex is built through a complex developmental process including proliferation, differentiation and migration of progenitor cells. Many neurological disorders occur if any of these steps is perturbed. However, little is known about the role of the cell cycle.
Our aims are:
- To study the role of proliferation during cortical neurogenesis in vivo
- To study the effects of proliferation on cell-fate decision of cortical progenitors.
We are using a combination of techniques including transgenic mouse models allowing specific tracing of neural stem cells and in utero electroporation for further genetic manipulations, and in vitro neurosphere and primary cell culture assays.
- Anna Martínez Casals, postdoc
- Nicolas Guérout, postdoc
- Xiaofei Li, M.Sc., PhD student
mTOR signaling is a key regulator of the transit-amplifying progenitor pool in the adult and aging forebrain.
J. Neurosci. (2012) 32(43):15012-26
Origin of new glial cells in intact and injured adult spinal cord.
Cell Stem Cell. (2010) 7(4): 470-482
Spinal cord injury reveals multilineage differentiation of ependymal cells.
PLoS Biology. (2008) 6(7): e182
Stem cells for spinal cord repair.
Cell Stem Cell. (2008) 3(1):16-24
Genetic manipulation of adult mouse neurogenic niches by in vivo electroporation.
Nature Methods. (2008) 5(2): 189-196