Christine Holt is a developmental neuroscientist who has deciphered the molecular signals that guide the wiring of the neuronal connections from the eye to the brain. Using innovative techniques to image live cells in the brains of amphibian embryos, she has been able to analyse the signals that tell growing nerve fibres which way to turn.
The axons, or fibres, of retinal ganglion cells, which carry visual information from the eye, navigate unerringly over long distances to reach precisely mapped target zones in the brain. Christine’s work suggests that guidance molecules steer the growth of axons by locally triggering the production of proteins in the growth cones at their tips.
These mechanisms also come into play when axons regrow after they have been severed, and Christine’s research points the way to possible new therapies for nerve damage, neurodegenerative disease and disorders of brain development. In 2011, she was awarded the Remedios Caro Almela Prize in Developmental Neurobiology.
Interests and expertise
live cell imaging,
local protein synthesis,
Retinal ganglion cells,
For pioneering understanding of the key molecular mechanisms involved in nerve growth, guidance and targeting which has revolutionised our knowledge of growing axon tips.