Our research

How is the brain assembled and sculpted during embryonic development? 

Addressing this question has enormous implications for understanding neurodevelopmental disorders affecting brain size and function. Our lab investigates genetic and cellular mechanisms controlling cerebral cortex development, and contributing to neurodevelopmental pathologies and brain evolution. We study how neural progenitors generate neurons of the developing brain, and are especially interested in RNA regulatory layers which underlie cell fate and cell signaling. We are especially fascinated by radial glial progenitors, which are the highly polarized neural stem cells of the developing brain. 

We use live imaging (of brain slices and neural progenitors), mouse genetics, cell biology, and functional genomics. Read some of our recent publications in Current Biology, Neuron, PLoS Genetics. Our research has been featured in several outlets including Science, the Simons Foundation, and in an interview with Debby on NPR!

RNA regulation and microcephaly

RNA localization and local translation

Human Brain EvolutionOur research has been generously supported by:

  • NINDS, NIMH, The Hartwell Foundation, The Brain Research Foundation, The Ruth K. Broad Foundation, Generous funding from the Kahns and Holland-Trices, The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, The DDX3X Foundation
  • Additionally, our lab members have won fellowships from: NINDS, NSF, AHA, Duke Regeneration Next, The Ruth K. Broad Foundation