Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine, Umeå University, Sweden
In 1997 Sara Wilson completed a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Cardiff University, UK. Between 1997 and 2009 she did postdoctoral training in embryonic development and neuronal circuit formation first at Umeå University and later at Columbia University, New York, USA. In 2009 she started a group at Umeå University with a position funded by Baltics donationsstiftelse. Her main research interest is on understanding how neural circuits are established during embryonic development. The goal of her research is determine basic concepts that underlie the establishment of the nervous system functional organization and to get at how that knowledge can be used in understanding the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders and in improving neural regeneration.
Normal nervous system function is dependent on precisely connected neurons. Disruption of neural connectivity by injury, disease or developmental malformation can result in profound dysfunction. My overall goal is therefore to understand how the healthy nervous system forms and what happens when that process goes wrong. During development, in order to reach its target, the maturing neuron must migrate, navigating through fields of conflicting molecular signals and a sea of other neurons, each navigating to their own unique position. My recent research has focused on understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that translate this embryonic neuronal ‘traffic chaos’ into becoming the organized structure of the mature nervous system. I will discuss some of our recent findings showing that, during mouse and chick embryonic development, different populations of neurons provide a ‘guidance map’ shepherding other neurons into their position. These recent findings provide a proof of concept that are likely to have wide implications for nervous system development.
Host: Klas Kullander
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