Glia account for over half of the cells in the human brain, yet compared
to their neuronal counterparts little is known about their development,
function and morphogenesis. C. elegans contains neuron-associated
cells that are strikingly similar to vertebrate glia. We are studying
how these cells develop, acquire their morphologies and
regulate neuronal activity using laser ablation, time-lapse
microscopy, genomic and genetic approaches.
Programmed cell death is essential for metazoan development.
We study cell death in the nematode C. elegans, and are interested
in understanding cues that regulate this process during development. We have identified a new cell death pathway independent of all known cell death genes, and have describes new ways in which the canonical cell death pathway is regulated.