Molecular Basis for the Development of Neurons and Glial Cells

painting of a fox on a broken bridge.

The cover art for our recent publication in the journal Neuron, which depicts a broken bridge between two hemispheres (corpus callosum) resulting from a mutation in the gene encoding the transcription factor FOXG1.

This project explores neurodevelopmental defects and disorders. 

Project description

  • Our ultimate research goal is to dissect gene regulatory events that lead to the cellular diversity and formation of functional neural circuits in the CNS and to understand genetic and mechanistic basis for neurodevelopmental defects, ultimately contributing to the generation of better treatment strategies for human developmental disorders. 
  • We mainly use two different model systems; cortex development and spinal cord development 
  • Our experimental approaches include 1) molecular and cellular approaches, 2) mouse and chicken genetics, and 3) deep sequencing-based genome-wide studies such as ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq. 
  • We also study two neurodevelopmental disorders, Kabuki and FoxG1 syndromes, and these projects involve both basic science and translational aspects.

Project outcome

  • Learn about setting up and rigorously testing a new hypothesis.
  • Acquire hands-on experimental techniques in molecular and cellular biology, mouse and chick genetics and genome-wide approaches. 
  • Become an author of the resulting publications

The specific outcomes of this project will be identified by the faculty mentor at the beginning of your collaboration. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Year-long (10-12 months)
Start time Anytime
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students), will be working with PhD students in the lab
Benefits Academic Credit, Work Study
Who is eligible All undergraduate students. No skills required but biology and/or molecular/cellular biology courses will be a plus
Goldwater and the National Science Foundation

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

Soo-Kyung Lee


Biological Sciences

C533 Cooke Hall

Phone: (716) 645-4996


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

The specific preparation activities for this project will be customized through discussions between you and your project mentor. Please be sure to ask them for the instructions to complete the required preparation activities.