Caroline Martin

By William & Mary

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Development and Assembly of Dbx1-derived Neurons 

This project will explore an aspect of the cellular mechanism that underlies the rhythm of breathing. Many rhythmic behaviors like walking, chewing, and of course, breathing, are the behavioral consequence of a central pattern generator in our nervous system. The Del Negro lab focuses on defining the central pattern generator for the rhythm of breathing on every level: from the behavioral to the molecular. If successful, breathing will be one of the very rare behaviors that has identified molecular origins. My project specifically focuses on the development of the cells that comprise the central pattern generator that we are interested in. We have identified a population of cells that determine the rhythm of inspiratory breathing, however, the cells within this population have demonstrated that they have broader roles as well. I hope to further subdivide this population in order to elucidate the cells that singularly contribute to producing the rhythm of breathing based on genetic markers. 

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