Albert Farbman Professor Emeritus

Research Summary

Cellular interactions in neuronal development; cell and developmental biology of olfaction and taste

A major focus in our laboratory is the development of cells in the nervous system. We are particularly interested in the molecular events associated with the initiation of axonal growth from the nerve cell and the developmental signals exchanged between differentiating cells.

For the nervous system to function properly, axons must grow and establish contacts with their appropriate target cells so that messages can be transmitted from cell to cell in a coordinated fashion. As our primary model system we use the nerve cells that respond to odor stimuli. The olfactory neurons are unique because if lost as a result of trauma or infection they can be replaced, even in adults. If we can understand how these cells develop and why they are so readily replaced, we may be able to learn how to bring about replacement of cells that have been lost in other parts of the nervous system.

Selected Publications