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The Breunig Laboratory is investigating the molecular mechanisms that govern the generation of the central nervous system from neural stem cells. These precursor populations generate the neurons and glia that populate the mature brain. During development, a host of signaling pathways, in the form of proteins on neighboring cells or soluble factors, influence the behavior of these cells. A precise understanding of these pathways may lead to the development of therapies to replace brain tissue lost to damage or disease. In addition, this knowledge can be used to mitigate brain tumorigenesis by blocking aberrant signaling. With Moise Danielpour, MD, a practicing pediatric neurosurgeon, we are investigating the mechanisms of brain tumorigenesis and developing targeted therapeutics based on these insights. As seen below, we have developed novel model systems for unambiguous tracking of tumor initiation and growth by introducing human oncogenes.