Overview

Central nervous systems range in complexity from the few hundred neurons of nematode worms and hydroid coelenterates to the 10000000000000 or so neurons comprising the brain of the reader of this page. How do these systems build themselves, and what are the molecules or mechanisms that might allow their repair after injury? How do the "simple" nervous systems of invertebrates repair themselves after injury, whereas lesions in mammalian brain have such debilitating consequences? What are the cellular mechanisms regulating survival or regeneration signaling in neurons? All these questions fascinate us, but currently our main focus is on retrograde signaling in healthy and in injured neurons. Axons are extremely long in relation to the size of neuronal cell bodies, and highly sophisticated mechanisms are required for the transmission of macromolecular signals from terminals or lesion sites to cell bodies. We seek to understand the molecular basis of these mechanisms.