Allocating specialized types of neurons and establishing their functional connections requires cell fate programming, differentiation, and neural circuit formation. We interrogate these coordinated mechanisms in midbrain dopamine neurons and thalamus relay neurons. We study these cells because they control movement and cognition, and are affected in Parkinson's disease, autism, and epilepsy. We also use knowledge of development to advance stem cell and pharmacological therapies in brain disease.
While studying pyramidal neurons differentiation and cortical development, I fortuitously showed that ectopic dendrite growth in metabolic brain disorders was accompanied by intra-neuronal cholesterol and ganglioside accumulation. I subsequently designed a therapeutic approach that ameliorated neuropathology in animal models of Niemann-Pick Disease Type C. This sparked my interest in brain development and disease and led to a clinical trial that resulted in therapy currently used to treat patients with Niemann-Pick Disease Type C.
MARK ZERVAS, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
On The Web:
Zervas Home Page
Brown et al., 2009 (Video article describing GIFM)
Ellisor et., 2009 (GIFM and neural circuits)
Joyner & Zervas, 2006 (GIFM Review)
Zervas et al., 2005 (Review of Neurodevelopment)
Zervas et al., 2005 (MAP1B and LTP)
Zervas et al., 2004 (Genetic Lineage, midbrain and dopamine neuron development)
Zervas et al., 2001 (ganglioside synthesis inhibition and Niemann-Pick Disease Type C)
Zervas et al., 2001 (Cellular pathology of NPC)
Zervas et al., 2000 (Ganlgiosides and cortical development and disease)
Zervas et al., 1999 (Gangliosides and cortical development)
Zervas et al., 1998 (Gangliosides and dendritic growth)
Zervas et al., 1996 (MAP1B mutant mice)
Ellisor & Zervas 2010 (Tamoxifen dose and GIFM)
Luu et al., 2011 (Dynamic Gbx2 lineage contribution and requirement in spinal cord
Brown et al., 2011 (Molecular identity of Wnt1-expressing progenitors and temporal contribution to dopamine neurons)
Hayes et al., 2011 (Shh and Gli1 lineage shape dopamine neuron diversity)
Hagan et al., 2012 (Wnt1 and cerebellum development)
Ellisor et al., 2012 (Genetic dissection of dopamine neuron development)
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