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Signaling Mechanisms That Control Brain Function and Disease

Chin Chiang
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
4110A Med Res Bldg 3
615-343-4922 (office)
615-343-4916 (lab)

Our laboratory is interested in the signaling mechanisms that control brain function and disease. Associative sensory learning is a process whereby the brain learns an association between two sensory stimuli from the environment.  Dysfunction in this process has been linked to developmental disabilities in humans such as autism. The brain consists of inhibitory or excitatory neurons that express neurotransmitter GABA or glutamate, respectively. We are interested in how these neurochemically distinct neurons are generated and how they contribute to the processing of sensory stimuli and progression of brain tumors.  We use cerebellum as a system because it is required for associative sensory learning and the origin of the most common type of pediatric brain cancer. We use cutting edge techniques and multidisciplinary approaches that include the utilization of state-of-the-art mouse molecular genetics, live cell imaging, behavioral neuroscience, gene expression profiling and orthotopic grafting of tumor cells, combined with state-of-the-art localized stereotaxic injection system for in vivo gene delivery and manipulation.