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 at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada and is part of Brain and Mind Research Institute a vibrant interdisciplinary research environment.
Ottawa is a multicultural city, sitting on Ottawa river, home to many national landmarks, has centuries-old architecture, fortifications, museums, several historic and ancestral sites. Ottawa is also nearby of national 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.