Synaptic integration and connectivity of new neurons in the adult brain
The adult brain is endowed with the capability to generate new neurons within restricted locations, as in the adult hippocampus. Once generated by neural stem and progenitor cells, these young neurons pass through critical periods of enhanced plasticity during which they establish their final connectivity pattern, particularly in response to circuit activity and experience. Our work aims to understand what mechanisms regulate these periods of heightened plasticity and whether these principles can be more broadly applied to approaches inducing neuronal regeneration following injury and disease.
Regulation of cellular plasticity by the mitochondrial network
The architecture of the mitochondrial network in cells is maintained on the one hand by organelle trafficking, and on the other by regulated fusion and fission dynamics. We study these processes in neurons and glial cells, with the aim to reveal the precise contribution of mitochondrial network dynamics to cellular plasticity in physiological conditions and in disease settings.
Glial cells and neuroinflammation
Glial cells, particularly astrocytes and microglia, play key functions in brain injury and disease. Utilizing state-of-the-art genetic and imaging approaches we try to dissect the reciprocal cross-talk of these two cell types in regulating the inflammatory response that follows injury, with the aim to identify ways to significantly improve tissue repair.