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Developmental specification of midbrain dopamine neurons and their connectivity

Dopamine neurons, residing within the ventral midbrain (VM), are essential for the control of voluntary movement, emotion and cognitive function, and are affected in a number of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and addiction.

Aims

The group is interested in identifying novel regulator (including Wnts, chemokines and cell adhesion molecules) in the birth and plasticity of midbrain dopamine neurons.

Instrumental in improving our knowledge of disease etiology and the development of new therapies will be a greater understanding of how these cells are initially born and wired during embryonic development. While the past 30 years have identified a number of regulators in VM dopamine development, several events remain poorly understood.

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