David Lin, PhD
The Lin lab studies the development and degeneration of the nervous system using the mouse olfactory system as a model. During development, billions of neurons must form connections with their appropriate partners in order to form a functional nervous system. How is this remarkable process of axon guidance and target recognition accomplished? Once neurons are born, they are exposed to a variety of environmental insults that must be properly dealt with to avoid degeneration. Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are thought to arise in part due to a failure to deal with this increased stress. The olfactory system represents an excellent system in which to study both processes. During development, millions of neurons must first find their way from the nose to the brain in a carefully orchestrated manner. During adulthood, these same neurons in the nose are constantly bombarded by outside stressors, including oxygen, odorants, toxins, and other chemicals. As a result, the olfactory system must constantly regenerate new neurons to replace dying cells, which in turn must find their appropriate partners in the brain. We study these linked processes of axon guidance, degeneration, and regeneration using genetic, genomic, and in vitro approaches. Our genetic approach uses mouse mutants to study the effects of altering individual gene function upon axon guidance and regeneration. Our genomic approaches include laser microdissection, single-cell RNA amplification, and microarrays to study how these processes affect gene expression. The lab also oversees the microarray Core facility for the campus. And finally, we use tissue culture models to study the effects of manipulating expression upon axon guidance and degeneration. Together, these approaches allow us to examine the molecular basis for the decisions that guide the formation of the nervous system, as well as those that affect neurodegeneration and regeneration.
- Rodriguez, S., Sickles, H.M., DeLeonardis, C., Gridley, T., and Lin, D.M. Notch2 functions in the adult mouse main olfactory system to maintain glial fate. In press, Developmental Biology (2007) - cover illustration.
- Williams, E., Xiao, Y., Sickles, H., Shafer, P., Yona, G., Yang, Y.H., and Lin, D.M. Spatial and temporal molecular heterogeneity in the developing mouse olfactory bulb. BMC Developmental Biology (2007) 7:48.
- Moran-Mirabal, J., Tan, C.P., Orth, R., Williams, E., Craighead, H., and Lin, D.M. Controlling microarray spot morphology with lift-off polymer arrays. Analytical Chemistry (2007) 79(3):1109-14.
- Lin, D.M., Loveall, B., Ewer, J., Deitcher, D.L., Sucher, N.J. Characterization of mRNA expression in single neurons. Methods in Molecular Biology, Borsello, T. ed. (2007):321.
Awards and Honors