Anatomy, Physiology & Genetics (APG)
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Sharon L. Juliano, Ph.D.
- University of Pennsylvania, 1982
Neural Plasticity in Developing and Adult Cerebral Cortex
The interests of Dr. Juliano's laboratory center on factors mediating adult and developmental plasticity of the neocortex. Two streams of research occur simultaneously in the lab. The first studies development of the cerebral cortex and focuses on factors important in migration and differentiation of cells in the cortical layers. The lab is particularly interested in the role of radial glia that guide neurons into the cerebral cortex and in Cajal Retzius cells that signal positional information to migrating neurons. Current studies include organotypic culture preparations from animal models with disrupted layer formation to study: i) factors that maintain radial glial fibers, ii) factors involved in growth of thalamic fibers into normal and disrupted cortex, and iii) the possibility of cortical repair by repopulation with appropriately timed progenitor cells. The second stream of research evaluates conditions that mediate plasticity in adult cerebral cortex. The lab is interested in the interaction between acetylcholine and neurotrophic factors that allow the cerebral cortex to improve functional responses after lesions/disease that normally result in reduced cortical capacity. They are using genetically engineered cell lines or other vectors to deliver neurotrophins into the cerebral cortex.