- Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Cell Biology Director 2011 - 2016
We are interested in the structure, development and plasticity of the central nervous system as well as extraocular muscles. We use modern quantitative methods to define the cellular composition of human and animal brains, and we analyze gene expression and employ proteomics to better understand how strabismic human eye muscles differ from normal human eye muscles, and why some common forms of strabismus are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia. In collaboration with ophthalmologists, we have compiled one of the largest biobanks of normal and strabismic eye muscle tissues, and we are now defining gene expression profiles to understand and eventually manipulate the relationship between oculomotor abnormalities and schizophrenia. Our preliminary work indicates that the same growth factors and cytokines that are dysregulated in schizophrenia, are imbalanced in the developing extraocular muscles. This work may lead to novel treatments of strabismus and much earlier diagnosis of schizophrenia than is currently possible.