Axons connect neurons across great distances in the nervous system, and this distance is a fundamental vulnerability for neurons. Maintenance of functional connectivity requires robust mechanisms for transporting proteins and organelles, in addition to mechanisms for local synthesis of proteins distant from the cell body. Glial cells also provide important local support to axons and synapses. Axons are therefore vulnerable to stressors that impair energy metabolism, cytoskeleton, axonal transport machinery and glial support as well as acute physical injury.
The Collins lab is particularly interested in cellular mechanisms of plasticity that allow the nervous system to adapt to impairments in axons. These include cell autonomous signaling pathways that become triggered in damaged axons, and neuron-glial interactions that mediate circuit adaptations to axonal damage.
Our lab uses both Drosophila melanogaster and mice as model organisms, when enables us to combine molecular genetics approaches with cell biology, biochemistry and primary cell culture to study conserved pathways of axonal damage response.
The Collins Lab Pledge to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Cathy Collins and members of the Collins lab are committed to fostering an inclusive, safe, and positive working environment for all lab members. We strive for a learning community that is respectful and inclusive of all races, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, cultures, and religious beliefs. We value and appreciate diversity in our backgrounds and ideas, and support the distinct personal and career goals of each team member. We will work to recognize and address our biases, and pledge to proactively and continuously seek ways to improve equity and inclusion in our field, lab, classrooms, and community.