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Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research

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William D. Richardson

FMedSci  FRS
Central nervous system glia
Richardson-Photo-2014


Tel:
020 7679 6729
Email: w.richardson@ucl.ac.uk
Website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucbzwdr/Richardson.htm

We are investigating the diversity and functions of glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS).

Glial cells (astrocytes and oligodendrocytes) outnumber neurons in the CNS, yet there remain major questions regarding their developmental origins, functional roles and even how many different subtypes of glia there are. This fundamental information is needed if we are to stand a chance of understanding the workings of the brain and spinal cord.

Over the past several years we have invested heavily in mouse transgenesis, to generate transgenic lines that will be useful for studies of CNS glial cells in vivo. For example, we now have a battery of mouse lines in which different subtypes of glia express fluorescent marker proteins (e.g. GFP or tdTomato) and/or Cre recombinase. We are using these to map the origins of glial cells in the embryonic CNS and, in combination with electrophysiological recording and behavioural tests, to try to gain insights into their electrical properties and their roles in neural plasticity e.g. motor skills learning. 

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