Piao Lab


Cortical Development




CNS Myelination



Microglia


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Research Overview

During development, cells and molecules of the central nervous system (CNS) execute an astonishingly intricate choreographed process that culminates in the precise localization of neurons wired in functional networked circuitry. In the Piao Lab, we seek to understand aspects of this process whose perturbation may persist into adulthood and manifest as neurodevelopmental conditions including autism, schizophrenia and cerebral palsy. Specifically, we study adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) and their extracellular matrix (ECM) partners, the goal being to uncover how cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions contribute to development and where deranged development produces disease. Extremely well-suited to this research strategy is how individual members of the aGPCR family interact with multiple binding partners in cell-type-specific fashion, making them indispensable for tissue architecture and circuit wiring in the brain as well as developmental myelination of peripheral nerves. Currently, the lab focuses on exploring aGPCR mediated cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in CNS myelin formation and repair, synapses and circuits, maternal immune activation and further identification of aGPCR ligands. Taken together, our ongoing research provides immense promise for understanding and treating neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative, and neuropsychiatric disorders.

For more details, see research page.

Opportunities

Currently we are seeking motivated postdocs and graduate students. Individuals with a strong background in biochemistry, molecular biology, and neuroscience are especially welcome. Successful candidates will apply their knowledge in biochemistry, histology, and mouse brain development to investigate how adhesion GPCRs and their binding partners function in disease. An outstanding salary and benefits package is included; salary will be commensurate with experience.

Interested applicants should send a brief description of their research interests and a curriculum vitae that includes contact information for three references to: Dr. Xianhua Piao at xianhua.piao@ucsf.edu