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Neuroscience and Neurobiology

Michael D. Cleary
Associate Professor

Professor Cleary is interested in how complex tissues develop from relatively small populations of stem cells. Nervous system development in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, provides an excellent model system for studying this process. His lab focuses on how Drosophila neural stem cells, called neuroblasts, which produce the diversity of cell types found in the nervous system. His primary aim is to understand:

  • How cell fate decisions are temporally regulated, so that distinct cell types are made at specific times during development
  • How mitotic activity is regulated, so that neuroblasts stop and start dividing at the proper time
  • How cell fate information is passed from a neuroblast to its progeny and the role of chromatin remodeling factors and other transcription factors in this process

His research team uses the many powerful molecular and genetic techniques available for Drosophila research to address these questions, with the ultimate goal of identifying mechanisms that are conserved in human stem cells.
(209) 228-4554
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Fred Wolf
Associate Professor

Genetic and neural circuit coding mechanisms of simple behaviors in Drosophila.
(415) 370-1132
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Ramen Saha
Assistant Professor

Epigenetic mechanisms of neuronal gene transcription and their role in mental health.
(209) 228-2425
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Xuecai Ge
Assistant Professor

The Ge lab is interested in understanding molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopment and its related diseases. We focus on the developing cerebral cortex and cerebellum, and study how different cell signaling pathways integrate to govern neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Specifically, we aim to understand: 

  • How signaling pathways are integrated at the cilium, the antenna of the cell, to control cell behaviors;
  • How the molecular signaling pathways interact with each other to control the cell proliferation and cell fate determination in the developing brain; and
  • How to apply what we learn from cultured cells and animal models to clarify the pathogenesis of neural developmental disorders and pediatric brain tumors.
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