Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory
Françoise Gilot-Salk Chair
The Regulatory Logic of Signaling
Our group uses molecular genetics to study the regulation of signaling networks that control nervous system development and immune system function. Much of our current work is focused on signaling through receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) of the TAM and Eph receptor families.
We are interested in how expression gradients of Eph receptors are established across fields of developing neurons, and how these interacting RTK gradients function during the topographic wiring of the eye to the brain. Current efforts are directed toward the analysis of a set of transcription factors (Vax proteins) that integrate the activities of the Sonic hedgehog and Wnt morphogen gradients that initially specify Eph receptor gradients in the embryonic nervous system.
The systems biology of the TAM RTKs in the mature immune system is a second major focus of the lab. These receptors, and their integration and regulation of the innate immune response, were both initially described by our group. We are currently studying the role that TAM RTKs play in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis in macrophages, dendritic cells, and B cells. We are particularly interested in the role that dysregulation of the TAM signaling network plays in (a) the development of autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and (b) the course of infection by influenza, West Nile, and Dengue viruses.
- BS, Life Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- PhD, Biology, California Institute of Technology
- Postdoctoral fellowship, Columbia University
Awards and Honors
- AAAS Fellow, 2008
- Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, 1994-2001
- Rita Allen Scholars award, 1990-1995
- Pew Scholar Award, 1986-1990
- Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Award, March of Dimes, 1987-1989