The goal of this program is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of neural diversity. To address this problem, the neuronal systems group is determining how genetic and epigenetic factors control the specification of neurons and their function in behavior. During the previous tenure of this grant, extensive progress has been made in determining the transcriptome of subtypes of mature neurons in the invertebrate and vertebrate brains.
Recent technological advances in genomics and single cell profiling as well as powerful bioinformatics tools open up the possibility for investigating how this diversity arises during development. The current proposal uses several neural structures in mouse and Drosophila model systems to investigate how neural complexity is generated, from its inception in neuroblasts to its refinement through plasticity in functioning neurons. This effort has established deep synergy between neuroscience labs at NYUAD and NYUNY, taking advantage of the powerful genomics and computational biology cores established in the CGSB.