Mary C. Halloran
Professor, Departments of Integrative Biology & Neuroscience
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin- Madison
Mechanisms of Axon Guidance in Zebrafish
Our research is aimed at understanding how axons are guided to their targets during development of the nervous system. Several families of molecules have been identified that can act as axon guidance cues by either attracting or repelling the motile growth cone at the tip of the growing axon. There is still relatively little known about how axonal growth cones are guided in the complex in vivo environment, where they must integrate multiple cues. We are investigating the function of guidance molecules in vivo using the zebrafish embryo as a model system. The zebrafish is a simple vertebrate with rapidly developing, optically transparent embryos ideal for visualizing developing axons. We use genetic and molecular manipulation of potential guidance cues combined with live imaging of growing axons to determine how guidance cues function in vivo to control the formation of neural connections.
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