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Groundbreaking Research

Thomas Jessell, Center for Neurobiology (Biomedical)

Thomas Jessell, Center for Neurobiology (Biomedical)

Molecular code for key aspects of nervous system development deciphered

Thomas Jessell’s research has defined many of the principles that are now understood to govern the specification of neuronal types and the formation of their specific synaptic connections. Using the spinal cord as a model system, he deciphered the molecular logic that directs the generation of motor, sensory, and interneurons, as well as the steps that drive their assembly into circuits that mediate reflexive behavior, motor coordination, and central nervous system pattern generation. This image shows an identified spinal neuron that relays sensory information about limb position. (Image provided by Dr. Adam Hantman)