Our lab studies the process of embryonic brain development, and what goes awry during disease conditions. In the developing brain there is a relative change in the type of neuronal stem cells that are born; and neurons born in one position have to reach their final destination by active cell migration.
These highly dynamic processes are regulated via the concerted action of multiple gene products; and abberant regulations may result in devastating consequences. Much of our work is focused on one severe form of brain malformation, known as lissencephaly (or "smooth brain"). Over the years we have found that genes associated with this disease, along others, affect a variety of polarity decisions. Through interdisciplinary approaches, combining molecular, biochemical, in vivo, ex vivo, and in vitro studies with mouse and human brain organoid models, we examine a wide range of human developmental brain malformations (e.g. microcephaly and lissencephaly) and diseases (e.g. epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia).