Developmental Neuroscience covers a broad range of fundamental and disease related biological processes in both vertebrate and invertebrate systems. The aim of these studies is to understand the complex molecular and cellular events that lead to normal and abnormal brain development. There are millions of children in the United States alone who suffer from neurological disorders that are based on improper neurodevelopment. These include neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy, intellectual disabilities, developmental delay, neurometabolic disorders, as well as brain or environmental trauma. Research in Developmental Neuroscience is enriched by The Center for Developmental Biology, which fosters collaborative interactions with developmental biologists both inside and outside the field of Neuroscience, as well as with research in the Stem Cell Institute.
Areas of research include: understanding the role of cell adhesion in neuronal migration, axon guidance and synapse formation; understanding the molecular bases for neurological syndromes such as autism; mechanisms that control regeneration of lower vertebrate nervous systems; control of migratory cells of the nervous system and coordination of these movements; molecular bases of neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia and autism; role of iron deficiency in the development of the hippocampus and learning and memory behavior in both humans and animal models; the role of heparan sulfate proteoglycans in morphogen and cytokine signaling in stem cells and nervous system development; developmental plasticity; anatomical substrates for developmental brain disorders; development of neural circuits that generate and control motor behavior; mechanisms for determination of cell fate; control of patterns of connections in development; molecular control of early events in brain development such as neural tube patterning and cell type specification; neuroendocrine control of brain development and their role in abnormal brain development; potential of oligodendrocyte precursors in treating spinal cord injury; and how substrate use and energy metabolism control the developing brain.