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Jane Roskams


Office phone: 604-827-5080
Web page: Home page
Research area: Cell and Developmental Biology
History: PhD (Neuroscience) Penn State University College of Medicine 1986 - 1991

"Never doubt that a small thoughtful group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

-Margaret Mead

My lab is interested in the regulation of normal and abnormal nervous system development and determining how these mechanisms may be exploited to stimulate regeneration when cells of the nervous system become injured. As many different types of neurons and glia are generated in complex spatiotemporal patterns throughout neural development, it can be difficult to study singular regulatory events that occur very early in embryogenesis. To overcome this, we utilize a simple and uniquely talented part of the nervous system - the olfactory system, which contains the only recognized neurons of CNS origin in the vertebrate kingdom which are capable of successfully replacing themselves and re-targetting their axons successfully following injury.

How olfactory neurons manage to do this and what drives this odyssey is what fuels the research being performed in the Roskams Lab. We are interested first in understanding how a small set of cells within the olfactory placode can generate the diversity of cells that constitute the primary olfactory and vomeronasal axes. Do these placodal cells persist in the adult or are the stem cell progenitors in the adult olfactory epithelium (OE) a different kind of cell altogether? We are using a multiorganismal cellular and molecular approach to understand how different cell types within the developing olfactory neuraxis communicate with each other and orchestrate the final events that lead to neuronal and glial maturation, allowing each other to develop and adapt to the environment as an animal matures. The Roskams Lab is essentially split into 3 research groups finding answers to the following questions, whose interests become intertwined the deeper we probe into some of the intrinsic mechanisms common to each.

1. How do caspases control Olfactory Receptor Neuron (ORN) Apoptosis?
2. Is there no end to the Amazing Talents of Olfactory Ensheathing Glia (OEG)?
3. How do Olfactory Progenitors Decide Their Fate?
4. Can placodally-derived cell lines mimic ORN and OEG development?
5. What role does methylation-dependent chromatin remodelling play in olfactory neuron differentiation and adaptation?

Last updated 8 January 2013