Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Glia are a frontier of neuroscience, and overwhelming evidence from the last decade shows that they are essential regulators of all aspects of the nervous system. The Zuchero Lab aims to uncover how glial cells regulate neural development and how their dysfunction contributes to diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and in injuries like stroke.
Although glia represent more than half of the cells in the human brain, fundamental questions remain to be answered. How do glia develop their highly specialized morphologies and interact with neurons to powerfully control form and function of the nervous system? How is this disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases and after injury? By bringing cutting-edge cell biology techniques to the study of glia, we aim to uncover how glia help sculpt and regulate the nervous system and test their potential as novel, untapped therapeutic targets for disease and injury.
We are particularly interested in myelin, the insulating sheath around neuronal axons that is lost in diseases like MS. How do oligodendrocytes- the glial cell that produces myelin in the central nervous system- form and remodel myelin, and why do they fail to regenerate myelin in disease? Our current projects aim to use cell biology and neuroscience approaches to answer these fundamental questions. Ultimately we hope our work will lead to much-needed therapies to promote remyelination in patients.