The Miller/Kaplan lab studies how stem cells build, maintain and regenerate the mammalian nervous system and digits. Many mammalian tissues, including the brain, contain resident stem cells that build these tissues developmentally and maintain and/or repair them in adulthood. The biology of these tissue stem cells is determined by the interplay between cues they encounter in their environment and intrinsic cellular mechanisms. These findings imply that understanding how the environment regulates tissue stem cell behavior would provide new insights into normal and pathological development and aging. They also suggest that if we could activate tissue stem cells pharmacologically, then this might promote tissue repair and regeneration.
We have a keen interest in identifying how growth factors, signalling pathways and epigenetic factors regulate stem cell function during development, and how aberrations in the expression and/or the activity of these factors and pathways perturb development and result in neurodevelopmental disorders.
How Stem Cells Communicate with their Environment
Transcriptomic, proteomic, and single cell transcriptomic analysis to generate a map of how the different cell types in the CNS and PNS communicate to control development and repair (Neuron 2016, Cell Reports 2017).
How Stem Cells are Generated and Maintained
Identify the mechanisms used by stem cells to generate neurons and oligodendrocytes (Dev. Cell 2015, Neuron 2017, 2018, Stem Cell Reports 2018, Cell Reports 2020).
Discovering Drugs that Mobilize Endogenous Stem Cells
Discover drugs to delay axon degeneration and to promote neurogenesis and oligodendrogenesis for endogenous repair of the injured and aging brain (Cell Stem Cell 2012, Stem Cell Reports 2016, J.Cell Biol 2017).
How Stem Cells Repair Injured Digits
Determine how stem cells in the mammalian digit facilitate and coordinate digit tip regeneration (Cell Stem Cell 2016, 2019, Dev. Cell 2019).
How Tumors Disturb Normal Stem Cell Function