The Barnes Lab focuses on two fundamental cellular phenomena. One set of projects in lab is directed at understanding the nature and purpose of endothelial heterogeneity as well as how the differences in an otherwise homogenous cell type contribute to cardiac disease. Our second focus centers on the genetic and cellular mechanisms that control the development of the cerebral cortex prior to and following birth to better understand the fundamental basis of neurodevelopmental disease.
Toward our vascular biology goals, we are applying a number of cellular and molecular methodologies to understand how (cell specification mechanisms) and why (physiologic significance) the cells that form the inner lining of all blood vessels display distinct molecular identities. These differences between endothelia are often a consequence of distinct functional requirements of the organ which they serve. Our goal is to understand the genetic basis for these unique populations and how these differences may shape the response of the vasculature to disease processes and contribute to pathologic outcome in the circulatory system.
For our developmental neuroscience mission, we concentrate on how signal transduction shapes the brain patterning and neuronal maturation. The cells of the developing nervous system are bombarded by a myriad of external signals during their migration and differentiation. Deciphering how these cells interpret and respond to these signals provides insight into the mechanisms shaping brain development and responses following injury. The Barnes laboratory identifies and characterizes genes that are required for the proper formation and connectivity of the developing cerebral cortex. A major focus of the lab is directed toward mapping the pathways that link extra-cellular stimuli to alterations in gene expression and cytoskeletal rearrangement during neuronal differentiation. Neuronal polarity is a fundamental aspect of differentiation and function. In the last decade, neuroscientists have begun to discover the signaling cascades crucial for the ultimate establishment of the structural and functional distinctions of dendrites and axons. The laboratory combines an array of techniques from conditional gene deletion to cell biology and proteomics to probe the role of various signals in neuronal polarization.Read more
Areas of interest
- Brain Development, Radial Glia, Neuronal Polarity, Endothelial heterogeneity, Single Cell Transcriptome/Proteome Analysis