How do glia sculpt neural circuits and how does dysregulation of glia contribute to disease? Glia make up more than half of the cells in the human brain, but we are just beginning to understand the complex and multifactorial role glia play in health and disease. Glia are decidedly dynamic in form and function. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the dynamic nature of glia is imperative to developing novel therapeutic strategies for diseases of the nervous system that involve aberrant gliogenesis.
The Gibson Lab, starting in early 2020 in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms modulating glia. One molecular mechanism that affords cells a dynamical nature is the circadian clock. While much is known about how the circadian clock influences neurons and peripheral cells throughout the body, little is known about how this core molecular mechanism regulates glia. We study how the circadian clock system regulates glial function to better understand diseases of the nervous system in which both circadian/sleep and glial dysfunction are prominent, such as autism, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment.
?What cellular processes in glia are regulated by the circadian system?
?What is the function of the circadian clock system during myelination?
?How does the circadian clock machinery influence myelin-forming cell structure and function?
?How does disruption in the circadian clock affect diseases of dysregulated myelination?
?How do circadian disruptions mediated by environmental changes (i.e. jet lag, shift work, light at night) affect brain form and function in health and disease?