Sadie Bergeron, PhD
- Development of neural circuits for sensory processing
Disrupted sensory processing has been reported as a comorbidity in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. The aim of my lab is to identify molecular genetic pathways that direct the development and ultimately the function of specific neuronal circuits mediating sensory processing; primarily visual and auditory. To do this we are using a combination of microscopy, molecular genetic tools, and behavioral and neuroanatomical analyses in the zebrafish model system.
Currently, projects are focused on the characterization of a zebrafish mutant exhibiting defective sensory processing. Ongoing work will elucidate the molecular mechanisms directing the development of the underlying neural circuitry and how these brain regions integrate sensory information from the environment. We hypothesize this work will reveal important genes and circuits and direct the development of novel interventions for human neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Neural control of growth and reproduction
A second aim of the lab is to study the neural pathways directing growth and reproduction. We have currently established a zebrafish mutant lacking a critical transcription factor for normal growth and development. The formation of gametes is also delayed in at least female zebrafish. Similar to the mouse mutant, our zebrafish mutants are smaller than their wild type siblings due to a reduction of growth hormone releasing hormone expression. However, unlike the mouse mutant, our zebrafish mutant survives until adulthood. This advantage allows the investigation of the neuronal circuitry beginning in the hypothalamus that directs the observed phenotypes throughout the lifetime of the animal. The hypothalamus is an essential brain region for everyday homeostatic regulation in fish and mammals, thus we will elucidate the development and function of novel circuitry in zebrafish that may play analogous roles in humans.
The lab is seeking graduate students who are broadly interested in studying neuroscience and behavior, developmental biology, cell and molecular biology, and genetics. We will also consider highly motivated and enthusiastic postdoctoral fellows who currently have their own funding or the ability to apply for funding within their first year. Email your cover letter explaining your background and research interests and a CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Geldenhuys WJ, Bergeron SA, Mullins JE, Aljammal R, Gaasch BL, Chen WC, Yun J, Hazlehurst LA. High-content screen using zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos identifies a novel kinase activator and inhibitor. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2017 Feb 28. PMID: 28320616
- Horstick EJ, Jordan DC, Bergeron SA, Tabor KM, Serpe M, Feldman B, Burgess HA. Increased functional protein expression using nucleotide sequence features enriched in highly expressed genes in zebrafish. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Apr 20;43(7):e48. PubMed PMID: 25628360
- Tabor KM, Bergeron SA, Horstick EJ, Jordan DC, Aho V, Porkka-Heiskanen T, Haspel G, Burgess HA. Direct activation of the Mauthner cell by electric field pulses drives ultrarapid escape responses. J Neurophysiol. 2014 Aug 15;112(4):834-44. PubMed PMID: 24848468
- Fero K, Bergeron SA, Horstick EJ, Codore H, Li GH, Ono F, Dowling JJ, Burgess HA. Impaired embryonic motility in dusp27 mutants reveals a developmental defect in myofibril structure. Dis Model Mech. 2014 Feb;7(2):289-98. PMID: 24203884