Dennis D.M. O’Leary, a professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, studies genes that guide brain development in the growing embryo. He focuses on the genes that orchestrate cell identity and arrange connections in the cortex, the part of the brain that controls perception, reasoning and voluntary actions.
O’Leary’s lab identified the first genes that “tell” cortex cells their function. For example, the gene Emx-2 can switch cells that normally make up motor cortex into visual cortex. O’Leary’s team also identified genes that control how orderly connections are set up between the retina and the part of the brain that processes vision, and genes that appear to be candidates for Parkinson’s disease genes. It is hoped that their findings will provide insights into congenital birth defects, neurodegenerative diseases and neural injury.
Pak W, Hindges R, Lim Y-S, Pfaff SL & O'Leary DDM 2004. Magnitude of binocular vision controlled by Islet-2 repression of a genetic program that specifies laterality of retinal axon pathfinding. Cell
Hamasaki T*, Leingartner A*, Ringstedt T & O'Leary DDM 2004. EMX2 regulates sizes and positioning of the primary sensory and motor areas in neocortex by direct specification of cortical progenitors. N
McLaughlin, T1, Torborg, CL1, Feller, MB2, O’Leary, DDM2 (2003) Retinotopic map refinement requires spontaneous retinal waves during a brief critical period of development. Neuron 40:1147-1160. [1co-
McLaughlin, T, Hindges, R, Yates, PA, O’Leary, DDM (2003) Bifunctional action of ephrin-B1 as a repellent and attractant to control bidirectional branch extension in dorsal-ventral retinotopic mapping
Hindges, R1, McLaughlin, T1, Genoud, N, Henkemeyer, M, O'Leary, DDM (2002) EphB forward signaling controls directional branch extension and arborization required for dorsal-ventral retinotopic mapping
Erkman, L, Yates, PA, McLaughlin, T, … O'Leary, DDM1, Rosenfeld, MG1 (2000) A POU domain transcription factor dependent program regulates axon pathfinding in the vertebrate visual system. Neuron 28:7
Bishop, KM, Goudreau, G, O'Leary, DDM (2000) Emx2 and Pax6 regulate area identity in the mammalian neocortex. Science 288:344-349.
Brown, A1, Yates, PA1, Burrola, P, Ortuño, D, Vaidya, A, Jessell, TM, Pfaff, SL, O'Leary, DDM, Lemke, G (2000) Topographic mapping from the retina to the midbrain is controlled by relative but not abs
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