Samuel L. Pfaff, Ph.D.

Title
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Department
Gene Expression Laboratory
Institution
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Address
Gene Expression Laboratory
10010 North Torrey Pines Road
City, State, Zip
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone
(858) 453-4100 x2018
E-mail
Pfaff[at]Salk.edu
Website
http://pingu.salk.edu/~pfaff/
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
1999

Research

Our goal is to understand the fundamental principles that control the specification and connectivity of spinal neurons involved in locomotion, particularly motor neurons. Over the long term these studies should provide insight into the basic principles involved in the proper formation of the nervous system, as well as provide practical information for treatments of spinal cord injury and diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, post polio syndrome, and spinal muscle atrophy. The approaches used in the lab include experiments with genetically modified mice, developmental studies with chicken embryos, and differentiation assays with ES cells. Currently the lab has three areas of investigation: the mechanisms that control gene regulation during neuronal fate specification, the analysis of axon guidance, and studies of the central pattern generator circuitry involved in locomotion.