Scholar: Mebrat Mebrahtu
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Grant Mastick
Research Topic: "Netrin Regulates Longitudinal Axon Guidance"
Abstract: The growth of axons to their target is believed to be guided by the diffusible chemotropic factors produced by target cells. There are two types of axonal growth, longitudinal and commissural. Commissural axons grow towards the midline and cross the midline to connecting the two sides of the Central Nervous System (CNS).Commissural axons have been studied extensively and these studies have led to the discovery of numerous essential guidance cues, and to the understandings of their mechanism at a cellular and molecular level. On the other hand, the second type of axon is the longitudinal axons that grows longitudinally towards the anterior brain or posterior spinal cord and eventually connects areas within the CNS. The majority of long axons projections in the CNS are forms of longitudinal axons. However, when it comes to the guidance mechanism, much less is known about longitudinal axon pathways. One of the most known cues or protein in the field of axon guidance is Netrin. Previous studies revealed Netrin-1 and Netrin-2 have out growth-promoting activity for commissural axons. To investigate the role of Netrin in longitudinal axon guidance we performed chick embryo electroporation and antibody labeling. Our study shows that Netrin is involved in the guidance of the first longitudinal tracts of the brain.
Earned Baccalaureate Degree: Spring 2007
Earned Doctoral Degree: Spring 2011, Oregon State University, Pharmacology