Dr. Nicoletta Kessaris
- 020 7679 6737 / email@example.com
Central Nervous System Development
The adult brain consists of a large number of neurons and glial cells, most of which are generated during embryogenesis from neuroepithelial stem cells that line the ventricles of the brain. Neuroepithelial cells are highly specialised with respect to the neurons they generate, thus creating the extensive neuronal diversity that exists in the adult brain.
We are trying to understand the genetic basis underlying neural stem cell specialisation during development and the generation of neuronal diversity. We focus mainly on cortical inhibitory interneurons and their precursors. Cortical interneurons represent one of the most diverse neuronal subtypes in the central nervous system, and impaired interneuron function in humans has been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and mental retardation.
Cortical interneurons are generated from restricted pools of stem cells in the forebrain and migrate extensively to reach their destination. Using state-of-the-art molecular genetic tools in model organisms, we aim to map out their stem cell origins and determine their migration routes during development. Using loss- and gain-of-function approaches in vivo, we are also examining the role of signalling pathways and other mechanisms involved in interneuron specification. Our long term goal is to elucidate genetic programs underlying neuronal specification, diversity and function.
Nóbrega-Pereira S, Kessaris N, Du T, et al. (2008) Postmitotic Nkx2-1 controls the migration of telencephalic interneurons by direct repression of guidance receptors. Neuron 59:733-745.
Fogarty M, Grist M, Gelman D, et al. (2007) Spatial genetic patterning of the embryonic neuroepithelium generates GABAergic interneuron diversity in the adult cortex. J. Neurosci. 27:10935-10946.
Young K, Fogarty M, Kessaris N, Richardson WD. (2007) Subventricular zone stem cells are heterogeneous with respect to their embryonic origins and neurogenic fates in the adult olfactory bulb. J. Neurosci. 27:8286-8296.
Kessaris N, Fogarty M, Iannarelli P, et al. (2006). Competing waves of oligodendrocytes in the forebrain and postnatal elimination of an embryonic lineage. Nature Neurosci. 9:173-179.
Richardson WD, Kessaris N, Pringle NP. (2006) Oligodendrocyte wars. Nature Rev. Neurosci. 7:11-18.
New Investigator, University College London
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University College London
Research Fellow, University College London
Assistant, University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
King’s College London
Imperial College London
Medical Research Council
European Research Council