Sadie Bergeron, Ph.D.
Dr. Bergeron's lab uses the zebrafish to understand what genes are important for neural development with a current focus on some of the earliest expressed transcription factor encoding genes. Many of these transcription factors are highly conserved in their expression patterns and genetic targets across the animal kingdom. The zebrafish has become a developmentally well-characterized, easily accessible, vertebrate genetic model system with which to perform these studies.
Classes of neurons can be studied based on their molecular identity and function from the moment that they are born in the embryo through adulthood in both living and fixed preparations using microscopy and a variety of molecular tools. With improved targeted mutagenesis strategies we can alter any gene of interest and observe the resulting neuroanatomical changes in this transparent vertebrate that we share 70% of our genetic information with as well as many analogous brain structures by form and function.
These genetic and neuroanatomical changes can also be linked to alterations in many sensory driven behaviors in the fish starting when they are just five days old. Using this model systems approach we hope to better understand some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neurodevelopmental disorders that are accompanied by changes in sensory responsiveness in humans.
My lab webpage: www.bergeronlab.org