The cerebellum is a complex region of our brain involved in the coordination of our movements and cognition. Evidence shows that cerebellum is involved in several brain disorders such as ataxia (inability to move properly), autism, and medulloblastoma (the most prevalent brain tumor in children). The cerebellum is made of different cell types. Among them, the most numerous cell type, the granule cells, contribute to many crucial cerebellar functions. Indeed, an uncontrolled division of granule cells results in the most common form of pediatric brain tumor, the medulloblastoma. To understand the basis of cerebellum-related diseases and finding effective treatments, we need to study cerebellar development.
In my project, I will study the role of special regulatory molecules called microRNAs, which control gene activity in the developing cerebellum. Using modern cellular, molecular, and computational techniques, I will find a subset of microRNA molecules and their partner genes, which contribute to the normal development of granule cells in the developing cerebellum. Results of this work will provide useful and basic knowledge for scientists who study disorders of the brain, which have their roots in cerebellum development.