Neural Stem Cell Differentiation, Brain Repair, and Tumorigenesis
Neural stem cells generate the majority of the cells in the brain. The Breunig Laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms that mediate the normal differentiation of these cells to create the appropriate mature cell types in the brain, including neurons and glia (astrocytes and oligodendrocytes). Importantly, this information can be used to create therapies to direct differentiation and to promote brain repair. Conversely, we also use this knowledge to understand development of brain tumors when cells are mutated. For example, the exact origin of brain tumors is currently under debate, with most evidence pointing to either a neural stem cell origin or an oligodendrocyte progenitor origin.