Alex Kolodkin, PhD
Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding how neuronal connectivity is established during development. Our work investigates the function of extrinsic guidance cues and their receptors on axonal guidance, dendritic morphology, and synapse formation and function. For several years we have investigated how neural circuits are formed and maintained through the action of guidance cues that include semaphorin proteins, their classical plexin and neuropilin receptors, and also novel receptors. We employ a cross phylogenetic approach, using both invertebrate and vertebrate model systems, to understand how guidance cue signals regulate neuronal pathfinding and neuronal morphology, and also to understand how these signals are transduced to cytosolic effectors to regulate neuronal morphology and synaptic structure. As a result of the various projects in my laboratory, I and my colleagues have extensive experience in both fly and mouse genetic manipulations, neuroanatomical analysis, and a range of cell culture paridigms to assess neuronal morphology dynamics. Our current work includes a new interest in understanding the origins of laminar organization in the CNS, and also connectivity at all levels in the mammalian visual system. Though broad in scope, we interrogate the roles played by guidance cues in invertebrate and vertebrate neural development, and also their mechanisms of action. Overall, our work provides insight into guidance cue regulation of neural circuit assembly and function.
Alex Kolodkin is a neurobiologist, exploring the mechanism that guide neuron migration and connectivity during development.