Jenny Hsieh, PhD
Stem cells in the adult brain present a particularly intriguing area of study. Although we have seen a good deal of progress in our understanding of the specific requirements of neural stem cells to proliferate and differentiate along specific lineages, the next step is to determine the mechanistic connections between local environmental signals and their immediate targets that regulate stem cell fate. Answers to these questions will advance our understanding of basic developmental processes, and may shed light for therapeutic intervention in degenerative neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, and Multiple Sclerosis. A major focus of Dr. Hsieh’s lab is to understand the signaling circuitry and transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that govern neural stem cell fate decisions in both normal and disease states. Current projects are aimed at defining the roles of transcriptional/epigenetic regulatory proteins such as NRSF/REST, histone deacetylases (HDACs), and MEF2 in adult neural stem cells. We have also taken a chemical biology approach to identify novel small-molecules to study self-renewal and differentiation of glioma stem cells.