Recent Research Projects

Shh signaling in normal and pathological nervous system development

2015/16-2019/20 • $3,062,946 • PI
The morphogen Shh promotes proliferation and cell fate specification in the developing nervous system. In addition, we have shown that Shh is also an axon guidance molecule. This discovery led us to identify novel key players and novel molecular mechanisms in Shh signaling. We have expanded this...

Developmental Neurobiology

2014/15-2019/20 • $1,100,000 • PI
Our research focuses on an important molecule for embryonic development, known as Shh. Firstly, we study the role of Shh receptors in development of a brain malformation called holoprosencephaly. Secondly, we aim to understand how Shh helps to correctly connect neurons during nervous system...

The physiological, molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying lateralization of motor control

2019/20 • $100,000 • PI,CO
Lateralization of motor control refers to the ability to perform asymmetric and unilateral movements, and is essential for activities such as coordinated hand movements and walking. The right and left sides of the nervous system communicate through crossing fibers. Defective lateralized motor...

Investigation of the molecular mechanisms leading to polarized Sonic Hedgehog signal transduction in axonal growth cones

2015/16-2016/17 • $127,500 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Our brain and spinal cord is a very complex assembly of millions of cells that are linked to each other by specific connections. The way each neuron sends its principal projection, called the axon, to contact precisely other neurons is crucial. This network is the foundation of our cognitive,...

The role and molecular mechanism of Sonic hedgehog in neural circuit formation

2010/11-2015/16 • $795,154 • PI
The brain is composed of billions of interconnected neurons. To correctly form neuronal circuits, the developing axons (a long extension of a neuron) require attractive and repulsive molecules to lead them to their appropriate targets. One such molecule is called Sonic Hedgehog (Shh). Dr....

Characterization of the Hedgehog receptor complex and its role in embryonic development

2011/12-2015/16 • $517,637 • PI
The Sonic hedgehog (Shh) protein is important for diverse biological processes during embryonic development. For example, Shh functions to pattern the limbs and the nervous system. Despite its importance, the molecular mechanism underlying Shh signaling during embryonic development remains...

Hedgehog signaling and medulloblastoma tumorigenesis

2012/13-2015/16 • $392,675 • PI
Medulloblastoma is a very aggressive childhood cerebellum cancer and the most common brain tumor in children. One of the important causes of medulloblastoma is aberrant activation of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway. Our lab recently identified a novel receptor for the secreted protein...

Investigating axon guidance by Shh at the midline of the visual system and spinal cord

2011/12-2013/14 • $150,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Cancer is a disease that starts when our cells divide inappropriately, often because they have lost an essential "tumour suppressor" gene that normally keeps them from dividing. An example of a tumour suppressor is LKB1, a gene which is lost in patients with Peutz-Jegher syndrome, who are 100...

Patents