Mécanismes cellulaires et moléculaires régulant le développement et la survie des neurones dopaminergiques


Martin Lévesque

Centre de recherche de l'institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec [CRIUSMQ]


Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2017-2018


Parkinson Québec

Midbrain dopamine neurons play crucial roles in the control of a variety of brain functions, including voluntary movements, mood, reward, attention and stress. Dysfunction or abnormal development of these neurons is responsible for many brain disorders such as schizophrenia, attention deficit as well as depression. Degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons is also the primary cause of Parkinson's disease, a major human neurological disorder.

Very little is known about how dopamine axons find their targets during development or the factors that contribute to their maintenance in the adult brain. The goal of my research program is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the development and maintenance of dopaminergic neuronal circuits. More specifically, our research projects aim to:

1) Elucidate the roles transcription factors during embryonic development and in
adult brain.

2) Identify and define the function of the molecules that regulate axon guidance and
proper innervation of dopaminergic neurons to their specific targets.

3) Apply our fundamental discoveries to the development of new therapies to protect
dopamine neurons from degeneration and to develop efficient cell replacement
therapy to regenerate dopaminergic circuits from stem cells.