Natalia De Marco García, PhD
Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Neurological illnesses such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia and epilepsy are thought to arise during the development of the nervous system. Increasing experimental evidence suggests that an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory drives within the brain is a critical factor in the etiology of these illnesses. Our laboratory is currently investigating the interaction between electrical activity and genetic programs in early brain development with an emphasis on inhibitory neurons. We use the mouse as a genetically tractable mammalian model system to do our research.
In the short term, we hope to elucidate the type and source of electrical activity responsible for interneuron development. We are exploring the role of neurotransmitters such as glutamate and GABA in the regulation of interneuron maturation. In addition, we are studying the contribution of glutamate and GABA receptors for the establishment of neuronal morphology. We use viral tracing techniques; electrophysiology and mouse genetics to probe developing circuits and manipulate their activity patterns.
Eventually we hope to reveal the emergent connectivity of different interneuron subtypes as they become integrated into nascent cortical circuits. Ultimately, we are interested in understanding the mechanisms by which neuronal activity controls the assembly of these emergent circuits.
- Babij R. and De Marco García N.V.*,; 2016. Neuronal Activity Controls the Development of Interneurons in the Somatosensory Cortex (Review Article). Front Biol, in press. *corresponding author
- De Marco García N.V., Pirya R., Tuncdemir S., Fishell G. and Karayannis T.; 2015. Sensory inputs control the integration of neurogliaform interneurons into cortical circuits. Nat Neurosci. Mar;18(3):393-401.
- De Marco García N.V., 2014. Parsing out the embryonic origin of subplate cell-type diversity (Commentary). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jun 10;111(23):8325-6.
- De Marco García N.V. and Fishell G.; 2014. Subtype-selective electroporation of cortical interneurons. JoVe, in press.
- Karayannis T.*, De Marco García N.V.* and Fishell G.; 2012. The functional adaptation of cortical interneurons to attenuated activity is subtype-specific. *equal contribution. Front Neural Circuits; 6: 66
- Close J. *, Xu H. *, De Marco García N.V., Rudy B. and Fishell G.; 2012. Satb1 is required for the differentiation, integration and survival of MGE-derived cortical interneurons. J Neurosci.; 32(49):17690-705.
- De Marco García N.V.*, Karayannis T.* and Fishell G.; 2011. Neuronal activity is required for the integration of specific interneuron subtypes into the somatosensory cortex. *equal contribution. Nature; 472(7343): 351-5. [Highlighted by Faculty of a 1000, Nature Reviews Neuroscience]
- De Marco García N.V., and Jessell T.M.; 2008. Early motor neuron pool identity and muscle nerve trajectory defined by postmitotic restrictions in Nkx6.1 activity. Neuron; 57(2): 217-231.
- Huber A.B., Kania A., Tran T.S., Gu C., De Marco García, N.V., Lieberam, I., Johnson D., Jessell T.M., Ginty D.D., Kolodkin AL.; 2005. Distinct roles for secreted semaphorin signaling in spinal motor axon guidance. Neuron; 48(6): 949-64.
- Price S.R., De Marco García N.V., Ranscht B., and Jessell T.M.; 2002. Regulation of motor neuron pool sorting by differential expression of type II cadherins. Cell 109: 205-216. [Highlighted by Faculty of a 1000]