Loyal Goff PhD

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

loyalgoff@jhmi.edu
Telephone Number: 443-287-0251

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
733 N Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
Room: MRB449
Lab Page
Areas of Research
Developmental Neuroscience
Cellular + Molecular Neuroscience

Graduate Program Affiliations

McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine- Human Genetics Training Program

Neuroscience Training Program

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    lnc-Brn1b (Pantr2) is a recently identified long noncoding RNA with strong expression in neuronal progenitor cells of the developing neocortex. Loss of the long noncoding RNA lnc-Brn1b genomic locus results in a precocious differentiation of neuronal progenitors and a significant and specific reduction in basal progenitors in the SVZ. As a result, lnc-Brn1b-/- mice demonstrate mis-lamination of the neocortex, and disorganization of the barrel subfield.

The goal of my research program is to answer a fundamental biological question: how is the genome properly interpreted to coordinate the diversity of cell types observed during neuronal development? We are focused on the acquisition of specific cellular identities in neuronal development and identifying the molecular determinants responsible for proper brain development. Using novel experimental approaches for the enrichment and purification of specific neuronal cell types, and  recent technological advances in single-cell RNA sequencing, we can discover and explore the cellular factors that contribute to neuronal cell fate decisions during mammalian brain development. We use these approaches to establish high-resolution time courses of neuronal differentiation and maturation. Much of our work is focused on the 'noncoding genome' and in particular, a specific class of molecules known as long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). LncRNAs represent a recently-formalized class of RNA molecules with established roles in differentiation, cell fate specification, apoptosis, and various disorders. The flexibility of RNA as a functional substrate, the observed tissue and cell type specificity of these molecules, and their abundance and exquisite spatio-temporal regulation in the developing brain suggest that these genes are uniquely poised to contribute to the observed heterogeneity of the mammalian brain. My group is interested in the mechanisms by which lncRNAs regulate target gene expression in the context of neuronal differentiation, their coordinate interactions with regulatory protein complexes, their association with neurodevelopmental disorders, and their functional roles in establishment and maintenance of specific neuronal phenotypes


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