Taylor Welsh, B.S., Washington and Lee, Biology
In the Kucenas lab, we study development of the peripheral nervous system, particularly how glia interact to properly construct a functional nerve. We have identified a new glial cell type that sits at the interface of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, the motor exit point (MEP). This cell, the MEP glia, is responsible for preventing oligodendrocytes from migrating out of the spinal cord. Without it, oligodendrocytes freely migrate out of the spinal cord and myelinate motor axons. My project focuses on understanding MEP glia and uncovering the mechanism by which they restrict oligodendrocyte migration. I am using a combination of live imaging, genetic manipulations, and a chemical compound screen to find the answer.