SURF

Alix Mary Lacoste

The role of IGF signaling in cell migration and axon guidance in the developing mouse cerebellum

Growth factors are not traditionally known to play a role in cell migration. However, preliminary data suggest that insulin-like growth factor (Igf) functions in the guidance of granule cells within the cerebellum. The cerebellum is an important structure, responsible for the fine control of balance and movement and also involved in motor learning and memory. The cerebellar granule cell is the most abundant neuron in the brain, and investigating its development and wiring could provide insights into the functioning of the cerebellum and into diseases that affect its function. Using modern genetic techniques, my research approach is to conditionally inactivate the Igf1 receptor in mice cerebella. I will then assay for aberrant granule cell localization and axon pathfinding in these mutant mice.

Message to Sponsor

My experience with SURF began when I had to write my research proposal. This was a great opportunity to do in depth background research into an exciting topic and to exercise creativity as well as rigor. This is a skill that I am glad to start learning now. As a pre-PhD student, research is also crucial to my academic development. Being able to spend a full uninterrupted summer on my project is an excellent preparation for future graduate work. I also see the SURF program as a great opportunity to present my research in a real scientific forum and to share my experience with peers. I really look forward to the summer!
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: John Ngai, Molecular and Cell Biology