Integrative Biology Department
Mechanisms of axon guidance and neural crest cell migration during zebrafish neural development
307 Zoology Research Building
1117 W Johnson St
Madison, WI 53706
Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine
Our research is aims at understanding how axons are guided to their targets during development of the nervous system. Several families of molecules have been identified that can act as axon guidance cues by either attracting or repelling the motile growth cone at the tip of the growing axon. There is still relatively little known about how axonal growth cones are guided in the complex in vivo environment, where they must integrate multiple cues. We are investigating the function of guidance molecules in vivo using the zebrafish embryo as a model system. The zebrafish is a simple vertebrate with rapidly developing, optically transparent embryos ideal for visualizing developing axons. We use genetic and molecular manipulation of potential guidance cues combined with live imaging of growing axons to determine how guidance cues function in vivo to control the formation of neural connections.