Understanding astrocyte regional and functional heterogeneity


  • Prof David Rowitch

Project summary

The central nervous system develops to become regionally specialised to carry out vital roles such as vision, cognition and movement. Although many of the specialised functions that neurons have in the brain have been identified, very little attention has been given to cells called astrocytes. These cells create the environment in which neurons function.

The proposed research will investigate ways that astrocytes might be regionally diversified to interact with neurons to enhance their activity. Establishing this notion would provide a new basis for understanding how neuronal function and connectivity between brain regions is regulated.

The results of this study could lead to insights into neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease that damage integrity of local neural circuits in the spinal cord and brain.