Research Focus

The processes that govern the formation and maintenance of the nervous system are orchestrated by a complex series of cellular and molecular events. Insights into the principles that govern these processes often derive from the study of genetic disorders in which normal brain development and function are disrupted. To this end, our laboratory employs neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) as a genetic platform to characterize the genomic, genetic, cellular, and molecular factors that contribute to the development of nervous system tumors (gliomas and neurofibromas), brain development and behavioral deficits.

For these studies, we use numerous converging methodologies and approaches, including novel genetically engineered mouse strains and human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Defining these contributing factors represents the first step toward establishing individualized treatments for children and adults with NF1. Moreover, NF1 provides unique opportunities to unravel the complexities of related medical problems in the general population, including adult and childhood brain tumors, nerve tumors, intellectual disabilities, and autism.