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My lab studies the role of neurotrophic factors in regulating both neural development and neurodegeneration in the brain.  The first neurotrophic factor that was identified, Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), was discovered in the 1950’s for its ability to promote survival and growth of peripheral neurons.  This factor is now known to be a member of a family of trophic factors, termed neurotrophins, and our ever-expanding understanding of the functions of these factors in the brain are still being discovered.  There are two types of receptors that mediate the functions of the factors, the Trk receptor tyrosine kinases, which are necessary for their survival and growth-promoting actions, and the p75 neurotrophin receptor, which can have many different functions depending on the cell context.  This receptor can promote cell death after injury, but can regulate proliferation and differentiation of progenitor cells during development.  We study the expression, function, and signaling mechanisms of these factors in the brain during development and after injury.