Catherina G. Becker Group
Development and Repair of the Central Nervous System
The Becker Group is pursuing three main lines of research.
We are investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying successful regeneration of the zebrafish spinal cord, focussing on the activation of spinal-intrinsic progenitor cells by the lesion and lesion induced neurogenesis, as well as axonal regeneration.
We are using automated chemical compound screen in zebrafish models of motor neurone diseases, mainly spinal muscular atrophy, to identify targets for therapy. My group a founding member of the SMA UK Research Consortium, funded by the SMA Trust with £1.3m.
We are investigating the molecular factors controlling the development of the spinal locomotor network to identify the fundamental relationship between network and function.
In summary, our research contributes to a better understanding of the factors governing generation of neurons and axonal pathfinding in the CNS during development and regeneration. I use the zebrafish model to identify fundamental mechanisms in vertebrates with clear translational implications for CNS injury and neurodegenerative diseases.
Future Projects and Goals
- Indentification of the substrate of regenerating axons
- Signalling leading to regenerative neurogenesis
Methodological and Technical Expertise
- Zebrafish genetics/transcriptomics
- Spinal cord lesions
- Drug and genetic screens for pathway discovery