5433 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705
BA 1988, Psychobiology, University of California-Santa Cruz
PhD 1995, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Post-doctoral fellow 1995-2000, Developmental Neurobiology, University of California-San Diego
The long-term objective of Dr. Gomez’s research is to better understand the intracellular signals and effector mechanisms that control the extension and guidance of axons during development. Neural networks are built during development and regenerate after injury due to the activity of nerve growth cones. Growth cones are the motile tips to growing axons, which detect, integrate and respond to soluble and substratum-associated guidance molecules. Mutations in genes involved in the detection and transduction of axon guidance information into directed neurite outgrowth are responsible for many deficits in cognitive function, including various forms of autism, mental retardation and dyslexia. By studying the cellular, physiological and molecular mechanisms that govern normal axon outgrowth and guidance, studies conducted in the Gomez laboratory hope to identify potential sites of therapeutic intervention. In one ongoing collaborative study with the Gamm lab, researchers in Dr. Gomez’s lab are studying the development of human retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that are generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). RGC axons project from the eye into thalamus and midbrain and serve as an ideal model system to study the molecular basis of axon guidance. Importantly, human RGC growth cones respond to many axon guidance cues in a manner comparable to their animal model counterparts. Intracellular signals activated by guidance cues are currently under investigation, including the role of mTOR-dependent local protein translation.
PubMed Listing of Publications