Molecular mechanisms of neuronal wiring will remain the key interest of the lab. Similarly major questions regarding the functional significance of Dscam diversity are unanswered and are subject of ongoing and future studies. For example we are particularly interested of examining whether diverse Dscam isoforms play an instructive role during neuronal wiring ? We are also strongly interested in characterizing signaling pathway(s) downstream of Dscam, including the questions of signaling of DSCAM in vertebrates. What are Dscam-dependent and Dscam-independent mechanisms in axonal or dendritic branching ? Furthermore, we intend to examine the relationship of homophilic binding and signaling of Dscam.
As particularly new research directions we intend to address the following questions: How general is the principle of “self-avoidance” in nervous system development. How is it utilized and what controls it in vertebrates ?
What provides the recognition specificity underlying the complex task of spatially restricted synapse connectivity/formation ? What are the cell-intrinsic contributions and what requires interactions between pre- and post-synaptic compartments ?
Are there genetic algorithms underlying the specification of neuronal circuits ?