HiFo / Brain Research Institute
University of Zurich
8057 Zurich, Switzerland
Neural stem cells (NSCs) generate new neurons throughout life in two distinct areas of the mammalian brain. Adult neurogenesis has been implicated in tissue homeostasis, physiologic brain function, and is also associated with a number of neuro-psychiatric diseases, such as cognitive aging and depression. Understanding the mechanisms underlying adult neurogenesis represents a prerequisite for future therapeutic targeting of adult NSCs for endogenous brain repair. Our previous work has identified several pathways/genes that are critically involved in certain steps, from the dividing NSC to the integrating newborn neuron, during the developmental course of adult neurogenesis. Further, we have participated in efforts to characterize the functional role of adult neurogenesis on a behavioral level. Currently, we use novel imaging approaches and a variety of molecular tools to study the molecular and cellular framework of NSC diversity in the mouse and human brain. In addition, our laboratory aims to understand how physiologic and disease-associated alterations of the neurogenic niche are translated into stem cell-associated plastic changes of the adult brain on a cellular and behavioral level.