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My group has a broad interest in developing molecular tools to better visualize and perturb the connectivity and function of specific cell types and neural circuits of the Central Nervous System (CNS). We also use these tools in conjunction with regenerative approaches to study neurodegenerative disorders and retinal disease, as well as traumatic injury to the central nervous system.

Current projects include:

  • Enhanced gene delivery to the CNS using modified viral vectors
  • Development of Viral. Intersectional. Systems for Targeted. Analysis. of Circuits in non-transgenic animals. - VISTA-C


example of a VISTA-C approach to identify differential projection patterns of specific intermixed neurons in non-transgenic animals

  • Development of C.O.M.E.T (Codon Optimized Membrane Embedded Tracers) viral vectors for enhanced projection mapping of specific neurons

gC.O.M.E.T tracing of the Corticospinal tract compared to EGFP. Much more innervation of spinal cord grey matter is detectable with gCOMET vs EGFP.
(image by Jen Dulin, SfN2015 abstract 733.06)

  • Drug dependent cell-type specific therapeutic gene expression in the CNS
  • Combined gene and cell therapy for spinal cord injury and retinal injury
  • Deep sequencing and bioinformatic identification of global cellular state changes in the CNS that promote regeneration (RNA-seq, miRNA-seq, ATAC-seq, proteomics)