Heather Mason, PhD
Former Postdoctoral Fellow
Education and Training:
- 2001-2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, Gordon Fishell Lab, Skirball Institute, NYU School of Medicine, NY
- 2001: Ph.D. in Neurobiology, Gabriel Corfas Lab, Harvard Universit
- 1994: B.A. in Neuroscience, Amherst College
Current or Past Study:
I am interested in the signals involved in the formation of the mammalian central nervous system. The specification and proliferation of neuronal progenitors is one of the earliest events in development of the forebrain. Gain-of-function studies have revealed that the Notch signaling pathway likely acts to prevent neuronal differentiation and to maintain cells as dividing, multipotent progenitors. However, the early embryonic lethality of Notch1 null mutant mice has prohibited the analysis of the development of the central nervous system in the absence of the Notch1 gene. To overcome this obstacle, I have used conditional mutagenesis in which Notch function is genetically removed specifically within the forebrain. These studies will allow me to characterize how Notch signaling normally functions during forebrain development. The mechanism by which regional populations of neuronal progenitors are established and regulated is particularly intriguing and, to this end, I am focusing on how Notch differentially affects specific neuronal progenitor populations.