One of the major challenges in neurobiology is understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying development of the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS). Research in our laboratory seeks to elucidate these mechanisms by studying development of the vertebrate forebrain and visual system. We study these systems by taking advantage of mutations that affect development of the brain and eye in humans, mice, and zebrafish. Because genetic approaches do not rely on previous assumptions, details about the mechanisms mediating development of the visual system and forebrain can be uncovered that might not be identifiable using other means.
We are currently studying aniridia in humans and the Small eye trait in rodents. Aniridia is a congenital inherited malformation of the eye that occurs in approximately one-in-sixty-thousand babies each year. Individuals afflicted with this disease typically feature severe hypoplasia of the iris and may have associated defects including corneal opacification, cataracts, and hypoplasia of the ciliary body and retina. This combination of ocular defects results in poor visual acuity early in life and can lead to blindness. Small eye is the mouse model for aniridia. Aniridia and Small eye are caused by mutations in the PAX6 gene.... ►Read More
- Developmental Neurobiology
- Molecular Genetic Mechanisms
- Vertebrate Eye and Forebrain Development
- Publications by James D. Lauderdale may be found at PubMed.