Dr. Pan, Chun-Liang's Laboratory

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Ph.D. Pan, Chun-Liang.

Institute of Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, National Taiwan University, 7 Chung Shan South Rd., Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Tel: 886-2-23123456 ext. 88360 (office) or 88358 (lab)
Fax: 886-2-23221675

Email: chunliangpan@gmail.com 

Lab website: http://chunliangpan.weebly.com/


Research Interest

Our lab is broadly interested in developmental neuroscience and the biological basis of human neurological diseases. We use the soil-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism, taking advantage of its powerful genetic tools. Moreover, neuronal circuitry and synaptic connections of the C. elegans nervous system had been mapped to single-cell resolution, which greatly facilitates studies of the function of individual neurons in unique behavioral contexts. We are particularly interested in: (1) the cell biology of nervous system aging and neurodegeneration; (2) the relationship between neuronal activities and the maintenance of neural circuitry; and (3) the mechanisms of axon guidance and branching.

Current Projects
Cell biology of neuronal aging.
The molecular mechanisms leading to the dismantling of apoptotic cells and injured neurons during development had been studied in detail. However, our understanding of the cell biological events occurring in the process of neuronal aging is far from clear. Our preliminary results suggest that C. elegans touch mechanosensory neurons undergo characteristic morphological changes in senescence. We are now using various genetic and cell biological approaches, including RNA interference, to investigate how these events are regulated at the molecular level.

Longitudinal fluorescence imaging of a C. elegans mechanosensory neuron during the course of physiological aging. (Photo adapted from Ref. 1, scale bar = 5 mm in the upper or 1 mm in the bottom panels )

Electrical activity and neuronal aging. Electrical activity is required for the proper development of neurons. Our preliminary data indicate that it also plays an important role in the maintenance of touch neuron structures in adult C. elegans. We are currently exploring the genetic and molecular mechanisms by which electrical activity regulates touch neuron integrity in adult worms.

Molecular mechanisms of axon branching. Axons often elaborate collateral branches during development. Axon branching expands and strengthens the connectivity of neuronal circuits. However, genetic mechanisms controlling the outgrowth and maintenance of axon collateral branches are not fully understood. We are focusing on how axon branching is regulated by extrinsic cues and cytoskeletal remodeling.

The mechanosensory neuron PLM (labeled by GFP) generates a synaptic branch that targets to axons in the ventral nerve cord (labeled by RFP). Photo by Chun-Hao Chen.

Identification of genes important for neurodegeneration. We are proposing genetic screens, using both forward mutagenesis and RNA interference, to identify genes that are important in the maintenance of postmitotic neurons and adult nervous system.



Academic and Professional Experience

Lab Members