PhD in Cellular Biology and Neurobiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
BS in Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin, Madison
I am interested in combining advanced molecular and imaging techniques to investigate mechanisms of cellular invasion and subsequent organization. Cellular invasion is a fundamental feature of neurodevelopment and cancer growth. As cells or their neurites invade target tissue they inevitably interact with adjacent cells. An emerging issue in the invasion process is the influence of these interactions on invasion and organization within the target tissue. The fetal cochlea is an excellent system to study the role of cellular interactions on invasion and organization. Specifically, spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) invade the cochlea with peripheral sensory projections towards the nascent Organ of Corti. The precise organization and wiring of these projections is a stereotypical process required for normal hearing. I am investigating the role of two other cell types that develop alongside SGN projections during this critical process. These are: efferent projections from the brain and Schwann cells from the neural crest. By combining genetic labeling techniques with two-photon and confocal microscopy I am investigating whether SGN projections are directed by dynamic interactions with these other cell types.