Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Christopher Yoo Sciences

Uncovering Neural Plasticity Mechanisms in Sensory Circuit Development

Scholars Journal

Atypical somatosensation is associated with a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders, but the mechanisms responsible for experience-dependent somatosensory cortex (S1) development are largely unknown at the cellular level. While single-cell transcriptomes exist for adult S1, none have been completed across early developmental timepoints. Understanding the contribution of sensory experience to cell type development and plasticity is essential for developing treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders, like autism, that are characterized by impairment of experience-dependent plasticity. Chris' project will test the hypothesis that sensory experience is crucial for normal S1 development. He will use in situ RNA labeling to probe for mRNAs encoding specific cell-types and immediate early genes (IEGs) in layer 2/3 of S1. These explorations will further our understanding of S1 circuitry and reveal how these mechanisms are perturbed in autism.
Photo of Christopher Yoo
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Neurobiology
Mentor: Daniel Feldman, Molecular and Cell Biology
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