On Tuesdays, the Daily Voice features a first-person narrative from a researcher explaining the science behind a recent grant, and the inspiration or impetus behind becoming a scientist at UMass Medical School. If you know of a researcher you’d like to see profiled, send an email to UMMScommunications@umassmed.edu.
Many neurological and psychiatric disorders are thought to be due to abnormal wiring of neurons. For example, it is thought that the wiring of the circuits of autistic children and schizophrenic patients is perturbed during embryonic development. In addition, knowing how neurons get connected to each other will provide key insights about how the brain processes information.
As a child, I was fascinated by the ability of lizards to regenerate their tails, and that led me to learn more about animal development. I still find it amazing that a whole animal with millions or billions of cells gets put together with few mistakes most of the time. The strong background in genetics in the Department of Neurobiology attracted me to UMass Medical School.
In the last two decades there has been a windfall of new techniques that allow us to examine molecules, cells and circuits with ever increasing precision. Hopefully these new tools will allow us to find out things about the brain that we were not even thinking about!