Corey Harwell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
Department of Neurobiology
Armenise Building 331B
210 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
The goal of our work is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the precise connectivity of the cortical network.
Our cerebral cortex is responsible for regulating many of our most complex behaviors and cognitive functions. Our lab utilizes anatomy, genetics and electrophysiology to study both cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors that guide the formation of cortical circuits. Understanding the important molecules and developmental mechanisms critical for proper circuit formation will provide important insight into the etiology of complex neural developmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
Recently we showed that the secreted morphogen Sonic Hedgehog is expressed in specific populations of corticofugal projection neurons, while the Sonic Hedgehog receptor Boc is expressed in a complementary population of local and callosal projection neurons. Using anatomy and optogenetics we showed that Sonic Hedgehog and Boc function are required for the proper formation of layer II/III to layer V cortical connections. In the near term we plan to elucidate the cellular mechanism and signaling pathways that are involved in regulating Sonic Hedgehog mediated synapse formation through Boc. Our long-term goal is to identify the key molecules and cellular mechanisms that regulate the formation of connections between anatomically and molecularly defined populations of cortical neurons.
For a complete listing of publications click here.
Last Update: 1/9/2014