Proper timing of the initiation and termination of neural stem cell (NSC) proliferation ensures that the correct numbers and types of neurons are produced at appropriate times and locations during development, which is essential for proper formation of adult brain circuitry. NSCs can transit from non-proliferating (quiescent) states to periods of extensive cell division, dividing either symmetrically to expand the stem cell pool or asymmetrically to generate neural diversity.

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Decisions about whether to proliferate, the mode of stem cell division (symmetric versus asymmetric), and types of progeny produced are governed by 'pre-programmed,’ cell-intrinsic differences within the developmental programs of NSCs themselves and by extrinsic factors, local and systemic, that can vary in response to changing animal physiology. Our lab investigates how NSC-intrinsic factors integrate with extrinsic factors to control neurogenesis during development using genetically tractable model systems.