Microglia are the macrophages of the brain and participate to its development, homeostasis, and defense against pathogens and injuries. Notably, genetic evidence suggests that they are critically involved in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. However, our knowledge of the molecular processes that regulate these cells in the brain remains very rudimentary.
Over the past few years, we have concentrated our efforts on trying to understand how gene regulation is achieved in microglia. In particular, we provided evidence using mouse microglia that signaling factors in the brain provide important regulatory input that enable microglia to acquire their cellular identity. Importantly, our recent work on human microglia shows that axes of signaling pathways – transcription factors that shape the microglial epigenome and transcriptional characteristics are relatively well conserved between the mouse and human. My talk will provide an overview of these recent findings, and elaborate on the current approaches that we use to gain a better understanding of the epigenomic mechanisms underlying the different cellular functions of microglia in the brain.
Zoom option if unable to attend in person: