Monk Lab

Regenerating mouse nerve shows glia and immune-cells. (Image courtesy Amit Mogha)

Senior Scientist and Principal Investigator: Kelly Monk

When thinking of cells in the nervous system, most people first consider neurons. Yet diverse non-neuronal cells called glia represent at least half of cells in the human brain. Although glia have been historically understudied compared to neurons, it is clear that proper nervous system function depends on the coordinated activity of both neurons and glia. The long-term goal of our research is to understand the genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms that govern glial cell biology and to dissect how neuron-glial and glial-glial interactions contribute to nervous system development and function. We are particularly interested in myelinating glia — the subset of glia in both the central and peripheral nervous systems that generate myelin.

Myelin is the multilayered membrane that insulates and protects axons in the vertebrate nervous system. Whereas myelin has been historically considered in the context of its key role in facilitating fast impulse propagation, this view is rapidly expanding, with myelin and myelinating glia also playing diverse and essential functions in nervous system development, plasticity, health, disease, and repair. However, despite its importance, the mechanisms that form, maintain, and regenerate myelin are incompletely understood. Moreover, how myelination is impacted by experience and how myelinating glia contribute to plasticity and behavior are almost completely mysterious. We use a combination of genetic and cellular approaches in zebrafish and mouse models to dissect the mechanisms that control glial cell biology and functional interactions between glia and neurons.

Current lab members

Jiakun Chen
Postdoctoral Fellow
chenjia@ohsu.edu

Fernanda Coelho
Senior Research Associate and Lab Manager
coelho@ohsu.edu

Ryan Doan
NGP Graduate Student
doanr@ohsu.edu

Austin Forbes
Senior Research Assistant
forbesa@ohsu.edu

Grace Halsell-Vore
Research Assistant I
halsellv@ohsu.edu

Jiaxing Li
Postdoctoral Fellow
lijia@ohsu.edu

Amit Mogha
Senior Research Associate
mogha@ohsu.edu

Rory Morgan
Postdoctoral Fellow
morgaror@ohsu.edu

Monk Lab group photo 2018

Members of Kelly Monk's lab

Front row: Jiaxiang Li, Fernanda Coelho, Kelly Monk
Back row: Austin Forbes, Rory Morgan, Jiakun Chen, Amit Mogha
(Missing from photo: Ryan Doan and Grace Halsell-Vore)

Contact information

Lab phone number

503-494-2980

Lab location

Vollum Room 3427

Lab manager

Fernanda Coelho

Faculty support

Jennifer Beck
Assistant to the Director and Co-Director

becje@ohsu.edu
Phone: 503-494-2805
Fax: 503-494-4590

Mailing address

Kelly Monk Lab
Vollum Institute, OHSU
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Mail code L474 (regular mail)
Dock 4, Vollum Rm. 3427 (express mail)
Portland, OR 97239-3098