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Defining the transcription factors code directing sensory lineage diversification and connectivity (sensory neurons code)
Start date: Feb 2, 2009, End date: Sep 1, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"How is the enormous cellular complexity that characterizes the vertebrate organism arising? Cell diversification depends on the coordinated deployment of multiple programs of cell commitment. One fundamental question is how a discrete number of transcriptional programs combine to produce different cell types. This research aims to address the principles of how cellular diversity is created in the sensory nervous system. Specific objectives: #1:Defining the role of Cux1/2 transcription factors in sensory neuron subtype specification. #2: Defining the role of Cux1/2 in the establishment of specific contacts in the CNS. #3: Identifying potential interactions between Cux and other transcription factors driving diversification. Methods: We propose multidisciplinary approaches including model systems and methods such as rapid assessment of gene function in the chick, peripheral neural stem cell cultures, biochemistry, advanced mouse genetics. Significance and contribution to community: Dysfunction of sensory neurons is associated with a number of diseases lacking adequate treatment (chronic pain, irritable bowel disease, gastro oesophageal reflux disease). This is due to a lack of knowledge in the molecular and functional properties of the subpopulations of sensory neurons. Understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling sensory neurons development is necessary to understand the ontogeny of diseases and may open for new strategies for treatment. Objectives of the action: My goal is to perform research at the international top level and to develop my skills to become a good research group leader. This Marie Curie Fellowship will be highly important for my future scientific carrier. It will allow me to diversify my competence methodologically, to gain new expert knowledge in sensory biology, and to further my career in one of the best neuroscience centers in Europe"

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