© 2018 By Maria Elena de Bellard. Created with Wix.com

PROJECTS

 
Increase knowledge about glial cell evolution among earliest metazoans

Background:

  • Comparisons of trunk neural crest cells migratory pathways and its derivatives indicates that there are many similarities across evolution, while there are also distinctions among early vertebrates that suggest neural crest cells to be unique between species.

Questions:

  • What are the migratory pathways of trunk neural crest cells during embryo development across evolution? Are all mammalian neural crest cells derivatives a result of conserved evolution?

Approach:

  • Collect, observe and compare neural crest cells in different vertebrate embryos across evolution using molecular and cellular techniques.

Background:

  • The nervous system is comprised of neurons and glial cells. There has been some recent work on identifying genes that are specific for glia, and knowledge about the appearance of glial cells during evolution is far from settled.

Question:

  • Is the appearance of glial cells a critical event in nervous system evolution?

Approach

  • Analyze the expression and function of glial genes in earliest metazoans.

 
My lab looks at neural crest markers through evolution in sharks, snakes and frogs

Background:

  • Migrating trunk neural crest cells express simultaneously Slit and Robo receptor.

 

Question:

  • What is the function of Slit ligands and its Robo receptor during trunk neural crest migration?

Approach:

  • By manipulating the trunk neural crest cell in chicken embryos via transgenic techniques.  

 
Understand neural crest migration as modulated by the Tumor-suppressor Slit
 
Identify molecules that determine the specific migratory pathways decisions by neural crest cells and its derivatives (Schwann cells and Melanocyes)

Background:

  • Trunk neural crest cells use a variety of signals that guide these cells to their final targets in an embryo.

Question:

  • What are the molecules that attract or repel trunk neural crest cells during their migration in an early embryo?

 

Approach:

  • Compare the migratory response of trunk neural crest cells in vitro and in vitro when exposed the different guidance and trophic molecules.

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