neural circuit formation • neural development • synaptic targeting • mental retardation • synaptic plasticity
My research focuses on principles underlying how brains wire up complex circuits with extreme precision. To uncover the different molecules and strategies cells use to form such highly organized neural circuits, my lab combines high-resolution imaging techniques with advanced molecular genetics in different model systems to look inside living animals while their neurons form synapses. My research uses invertebrate organisms to identify underlying genetic mechanisms, and vertebrates to investigate common molecular rules. This research will provide insight into how the brain's wiring diagram is encoded within a genome, and how these may go awry in common brain disorders.
Lo, C.A., Kays, I., Emran, F., Lin, T.S., Cvetkovska, V., Chen, B.E. 2015. Quantification of Protein Levels in Single Living Cells. Cell Reports 13: 2634-2644.
Kays, I., Cvetkovska, V., Chen, B.E. Structural and functional analysis of single sensory neurons in Drosophila melanogaster using lipophilic dye labeling and behavior for hard-wired neural connectivity analysis. 2014.
Cvetkovska, V., Hibbert, A.D., Emran, F., Chen, B.E. 2013. Overexpression of Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule impairs precise synaptic targeting. Nature Neuroscience 16: 677-682. PMCID: PMC3954815.
Chen, B. E. , Kondo, M., Garnier, A., Watson, F.L., Püttmann-Holgado, R., Lamar, D.R., Schmucker, D. 2006. The molecular diversity of Dscam is functionally required for neuronal wiring specificity in Drosophila. Cell 125: 607-620. PMID: 16678102.
Trachtenberg, J. T., Chen, B. E., Knott, G. W., Feng, G., Sanes, J. R., Welker, E., Svoboda, K. 2002. Long-term in vivo imaging of experience-dependent synaptic plasticity in adult cortex. Nature 420: 788-794. PMID: 12490942.