Our lab is interested in the understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms governing adult Neural Stem Cells (NSCs) activation in freely behaving mice, migration and maturation of neuronal precursors and functional integration of new neurons into the mature neuronal circuitry. The largest population of NSCs in the adult brain is located  in the subventricular zone (SVZ). Neuronal precursors are generated from NSCs and migrate toward the olfactory bulb (OB) where they integrate into the functional circuitry. The long-term objective of our research is to identify the molecular and cellular programs orchestrating neuronal development in the adult brain that can be used to build up efficient cell replacement therapies by inducing neuronal recruitment into the brain areas affected by neurodegenerative diseases and brain trauma.

We use multidisciplinary approaches including mini-endoscopic imaging in freely behaving mice, in vivo  two-photon imaging of neuronal maturation and spine dynamic, time-lapse imaging of neuronal migration in the acute brain slice, electrophysiology, Ca2+ imaging, cell culture, CRISPR-Cas9, stereotaxic injection of viral vectors, electroporation, immunohistochemistry, western blotting, as well as behavioral assessment of odor behavior.

 

Our lab is located in the CERVO Brain Research Center, Université Laval, Quebec City and is part of Neurophotonic center. Neurophotonic center is state-of-the-art facility that brings together scientists in neuroscience and optics/photonics aiming to develop novel imaging approaches for the study of neural function.

 

Quebec City has more than 400 years of history, centuries-old architecture, fortifications, museums, several historic and ancestral sites. Old Québec is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage treasure. Quebec City is also nearby of national park and falls park offering many outdoor activities.

A schematic drawing of the adult mouse forebrain and illustrations showing different types of cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ), rostral migratory stream (RMS), and olfactory bulb (OB). Adapted from Gengatharan et al., 2016.

Newborn cells (red and green) in the adult olfactory bulb.