Willi M. Halfter, PhD

Associate Professor, Neurobiology

Contact

W1443 Biomedical Science Tower
412-648-9424
F: 412-648-1441
whalfter@pitt.edu

Education

PhD, University of Tubingen, Germany (1981)

Focus

Axonal pathfinding in the developing chick visual system.

Research Summary

During early embryonic development, axons grow with high accuracy to specific target areas, navigating along protein cues provided by the environment. A major goal of Dr. Halfter's laboratory is to identify the proteins that are involved in the early neurite outgrowth event. Because extracellular matrix proteins are likely to play a role in axonal migration, a detailed biochemical analysis of this class of molecules in the developing chick visual system is underway. Other investigations in Dr. Halfter's laboratory involve tissue culture experiments and transplantations in live embryos in order to identify the mechanisms underlying the orientation of growing nerve fibers.

Trainees in Dr. Halfter's lab have the opportunity to learn how to culture nerve cells, produce monoclonal antibodies, and identify proteins in the developing central nervous system by peptide sequencing and cDNA cloning in phage libraries.

Publications

Halfter, W., Dong, S., Yip, Y-P., and Willem, M., and Mayer, U. A critical function of the pial basement membrane in cortex development. J. Neurosc. 22, 6029-6040, 2002.