מדעי מוח מולקולריים
Sleep and sleep disorders:
Sleep is an evolutionarily conserved process that is vital for animal survival. Sleep disturbances affect a large portion of the general population and represent a major health burden. Although sleep clearly improves brain…
The main research interest of our lab is to elucidate the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of genetic psychiatric disorders such as psychomotor retardation, Fragile X syndrome (FXS), and sleep disturbances. To understand these brain deficiencies, we combine the use of genetic manipulations, real-time 2-photon imaging of single organelles, synapses and neurons, and video-tracking of behavior in live zebrafish. The zebrafish is a simple transparent vertebrate with conserved organization of the central nervous system. Furthermore, it is ideally suited for genetic manipulation and high-resolution imaging of the entire brain in a live animal. We develop zebrafish models for human brain disorders. The function of genes and neuronal circuits is determined using loss-of-function (CRISPR-mediated genome editing as well as genetic silencing and ablation of a specific neuronal population) and gain-of-function (transposon-mediated transgenesis) experiments. Our general goal is to link gene function with the development and plasticity of neuronal circuits that regulate specific behavior.