Chandrasekhar's work contributes to a better understanding of how neuronal networks are organized and "wired" during development. These studies also may provide insight into birth defects like spina bifida, which affects 1 in every 2,000 births, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"One of the hallmarks of spina bifida is an open neural tube in the spinal cord," Chandrasekhar said. "The cells closing the neural tube actually know left from right, and front from back, just like the neurons migrating to their appointed places in the zebrafish hindbrain. Additionally, mutations in many genes that result in defective neuronal migration can lead to defects in neural tube closure. We anticipate that understanding the genes and mechanisms controlling neuronal migration in zebrafish will shed light on the mechanisms of human neural tube closure, and why this process goes awry in spina bifida."
Chandrasekhar's study, "Structural and temporal requirements of Wnt/PCP protein Vangl2 function for convergence and extension movements and facial branchiomotor neuron migration in zebrafish" was recently published in February 2014 edition of Mechanisms of Development. He also published a related study, "The PCP protein Vangl2 regulates migration of hindbrain motor neurons by acting in floor plate cells, and independently of cilia function," in the October 2013 edition of Developmental Biology.
|Contact: Jeff Sossamon|
University of Missouri-Columbia