Activating dormant neural stem cells in the adult and aged brain
Quiescent neural stem cells (NSCs) are the source of new neurons in the adult mammalian brain, including the human brain. The process of neurogenesis begins with activation of the quiescent pool of NSCs. However, the ability of NSCs to activate declines with age, resulting in reduced new neuron formation in the adult brain. We currently know little about the mechanisms underlying the transition from quiescence to activation and why it deteriorates with age. The focus of this project is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern this process. We are using a combination of genetic and genomic approaches to identify the chromatin‐level mechanisms that regulate NSC activation. Specifically, we aim to determine the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms responsible for quiescent NSC maintenance and activation during aging. These experiments will illuminate the intrinsic mechanisms that govern NSC activation and why it is reduced in the adult.