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Neural Stem Cells: From Development to Function

Neural Stem Cells: From Development to Function

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The New York Academy of Sciences

Organizers: Fiona Doetsch & Hynek Wichterle, Columbia University

This symposium will explore the development of the nervous system, neural stem cell maintenance and the role of adult neurogenesis.


8:00-9:00 am
Continental Breakfast

9:00-9:10 am
Opening Remarks
Fiona Doetsch (Columbia)

Neural Stem Cells and Their Niche

Cheng-Yu Lee (Michigan)

Weimin Zhong (Yale)

Sally Temple (Albany)


Lineage and Differentiation

Oliver Hobert (Columbia)

Jeremy Dasen (NYU)


Stephen Noctor (UC Davis)

Function of Adult Neurogenesis

Rene Hen (Columbia)


Tracey Shors (Rutgers)

Fernando Nottebohm (Rockefeller)

4:50-5:00 pm
Closing Remarks
Hynek Wichterle (Columbia)




Regulation of Neural Stem Cell Self-renewal in Drosophila
Cheng-Yu Lee, University of Michigan

Asymmetric cell division provides an efficient mechanism for regulation of stem cell identity and potential (self-renewal) and generation of cellular diversity (differentiation). Drosophila neural stem cells (neuroblasts) divide asymmetrically to self-renewal a neuroblast and to generate a differentiating progenitor. Neuroblast self-renewal requires proper apical/basal cortical polarity, and the conserved polarity protein aPKC is a potent inducer of neuroblast self-renewal. We have identified novel genes required for aPKC-regulation of neuroblast self-renewal by genetic and biochemical approaches. We have also been characterizing dfezl, a new regulator of neuroblast self-renewal. Study of aPKC and dFezl in regulation of neuroblast self-renewal will be presented.

Asymmetric Cell Division and Stem-Cell Homeostasis
Weimin Zhong, Yale University

Asymmetric cell division is an attractive means for stem cells to balance self-renewal and differentiation during organogenesis and tissue maintenance. We show that asymmetric segregation of the mammalian Numb proteins and, therefore, asymmetric cell division are essential for mouse neurogenesis. Moreover, neural stem (progenitor) cell numbers are strictly controlled in vivo, and tumor suppressors likely play a key role in maintaining stem-cell homeostasis. We also provide evidence that Golgi fragmentation and reconstitution during cell cycle dynamically regulate Numb signaling and represent a novel mechanism for coupling cell-fate determination and cell-cycle progression. We propose that Numb-mediated asymmetric cell division is a mechanism used by stem cells in many tissues for their progeny to choose between self-renewal and differentiation.

Neural Stem Cells and the Vascular Niche
Sally Temple, New York Neural Stem Cell Institute

Prior studies have shown that endothelial cell trophic support plays a key role in neurogenesis in adult CNS germinal zones, and we demonstrated that endothelial factors stimulate self-renewal and neurogenesis from neural stem cells (NSCs). Here we present evidence that adult SVZ NSCs lie in a vascular niche. We found that the SVZ contains a rich plexus of blood vessels that snake alon