The most complex of all organ systems, the brain is composed of hundreds of billions of neural cells that are interconnected and work in concert to produce an array of human behaviors. Even subtle perturbation of these cells or connections can give rise to devastating neurological phenotypes. At the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Dr. Michael Fox leads the Developmental and Translational Neurobiology Center, where scientists investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of these neural cells and their specialized connections, and how these cells are altered in neurodevelopmental disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, trauma and aging. Discoveries made by laboratories in the Developmental and Translational Neurobiology Center are not only elucidating mechanisms of disease, but are facilitating the development of novel approaches to treat the diseased or injured brain.
The DTNC is the newest center at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and currently consists of five research groups. Research in these labs focusses on changes in neural circuits during normal development or aging, or in response to stress, trauma or disease. As we look to expand in the coming years, the DTNC will continue to build strength at VTCRI in research aimed at elucidating genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative diseases (such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, epilepsy, ALS, alzheimer’s disease, etc).