Department of Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley
My current research focuses on determining the environmental and internal cues that control the state and fate choices of adult hippocampal stem cells, and the role of gene expression and RNA processing (i.e., transcription regulation, RNA splicing and micro RNA), in the translation of those cues to fate decisions made by the stem cell. Specifically, we are looking at the effects of stress, steroid hormones and aging on the regulation of stem cells in the brain, and trying to manipulate them using gene delivery methods. The tools that we currently use for answering these questions are gene expression profiling, and cellular imaging techniques, along with design and delivery of gene therapeutics viral vectors, employed towards neural precursor cells in the dentate gyrus in vivo or isolated and grown in vitro. Future studies will investigate the function of the newborn neurons, and their integration into the existing circuitry using higher system function, such as physiology, behavioral and learning assessment.