• Randy D. McKinnon
  • Randy D. McKinnon
  • Professor
  • Department: Department of Neurosurgery
  • Program(s): Biochemistry Graduate Program, Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Program, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Graduate Program, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Graduate Program, Physiology and Integrative Biology Graduate Program
  • Phone: 1.7322354419
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • 675 Hoes Lane
  • Piscataway, NJ 08854
  • Key Words: Developmental neurobiology, neuroncology, growth factors

Our research efforts examine the role of polypeptide growth factors during brain development and the generation of axon ensheathing glial cells of the CNS. using both classical and reverse genetics. Our long term objective is to identify factors with potential for enhancing CNS myelin repair after injury or demyelinating disease. These studies involve several experimental systems and a variety of molecular genetic approaches. First, cells isolated from the rodent brain are examined using cell and molecular techniques in vitro. These studies rely on our extensive experience with primary cell culture and gene transfer technology for both gain and loss of function analysis. Second, cells engineered in vitro to alter specific signaling pathways are examined after transplantation in vivo. Third, signaling pathways important for glial maturation in rodents are examined in the model genetic organism Drosophila melanogaster. Finally, regulators of glial maturation in fly embryogenesis are examined for their roles in vertebrate glia. Such studies are thus aimed at identifying conserved signaling pathways involved in the extensive cross talk between neurons and glia during brain development.