Case Western Reserve University
Studying the molecular mechanisms that drive respiratory circuit development, assembly, and maintenance.
A central goal of neuroscience is to define the principles that control the assembly of neural circuits underlying the emergence of behavior. An inherent complexity to this question arises from the fact that circuits underlying distinct behaviors overlap topographically and are often constructed by the same core neural elements. Particularly fascinating in this respect are the circuits that govern respiration; while they extensively overlap with locomotor circuits in the hindbrain and spinal cord, their unique organization leads to a distinct behavior. The Philippidou lab aims to define the genetic and molecular pathways that underlie respiratory neuron development and connectivity and how extrinsic signals may impinge on these mechanisms to shape respiratory circuit assembly. We combine a molecular/genetic approach with viral tracing, electrophysiology and physiological assays, to address fundamental questions about neuronal identity and circuit assembly during development.