The Shanthini Sockanathan Laboratory uses the developing spinal cord as our major paradigm to define the mechanisms that maintain an undifferentiated progenitor state and the molecular pathways that trigger their differentiation into neurons and glia.
The major focus of the lab is the study of a new family of six-transmembrane proteins (6-TM GDEs) that play key roles in regulating neuronal and glial differentiation in the spinal cord. We recently discovered that the 6-TM GDEs release GPI-anchored proteins from the cell surface through cleavage of the GPI-anchor. This discovery identifies 6-TM GDEs as the first vertebrate membrane bound GPI-cleaving enzymes that work at the cell surface to regulate GPI-anchored protein function. Current work in the lab involves defining how the 6-TM GDEs regulate cellular signaling events that control neuronal and glial differentiation and function, with a major focus on how GDE dysfunction relates to the onset and progression of disease. To solve the...se questions, we use an integrated approach that includes in vivo models, imaging, molecular biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, genetics and behavior.view more
The Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute is dedicated to the study of the neural mechanisms of higher brain functions using modern neurophysiological, anatomical and computational techniques.
Our researchers use various approaches to understand information processing and its influence on perception, memory, abstract thought, complex behavior and consciousness. Systems and cognitive laboratories use neurophysiology, brain imaging and psychophysics to develop a quantitative, network-level understanding of cognitive information processing. Other researchers use analytical approaches such as system identification, dimensionality reduction, information theory and network modeling to understand information processing.
Other areas of research in the Institute include the study of how visual and tactile information processing leads to perception and understanding of two- and three-dimensional objects. Another focus is on neural processing and recognition of speech and other complex sounds. St...ill other laboratories study neural mechanisms of attention, memory formation, motor learning, decision-making and executive control of behavior.