Our lab’s goal is to understand how complex neural circuits develop from an initial population of stem cells.
Current projects in the lab investigate
(1) the mechanisms by which neural stem cells generate diversity and
(2) the rules that govern the reorganization of neurons during circuit development.
As a model system, we use the Drosophila optic lobe, which is the visual processing center of the fruit fly brain. Recent advances in the tools available to Drosophila neurobiologists, including the ability to label and genetically manipulate single stem cells and neurons, make the fly brain an ideal system in which to study neural circuit development. Additionally, the striking similarities shared between the optic lobe and the mammalian neuroretina, in both their modes of neurogenesis and organization, make findings in the optic lobe especially relevant to our understanding of human visual system development and disease.