The goal of my research program here at the University of Florida Dept of Neuroscience is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to both the normal and abnormal growth of the cerebral cortex. When this process goes awry, it is believed to underlie a host of neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. mental retardation, epilepsy, autism, intellectual disability) and potentially diseases that manifest with age (e.g. neurodegenerative, brain cancer). My laboratory is particularly intrigued by primary cilia, hair like organelles with highly sophisticated sensory and signaling capacities found on virtually all neural cell types, and how they contribute to cerebral cortical growth and function. One line of research is examining how cilia influence the development and function of cortical neurons. We use in utero and neonatal gene transfer to manipulate and track the fate, morphology and function of neurons with normal and abnormal cilia. We also use biochemical, molecular, cell culture, electron microscopic and various histological methods to assist in these analyses. A second line of research in the lab is investigating how primary cilia influence the pathogenesis of human glioblastoma, one of the most common and feared brain tumors in adult. In collaboration with other MBI members and the Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research, we use primary tumor cell lines, xenograft models and patient biopsies to examine how cilia impact tumor growth and resistance to current treatments.