Our Lab Team
Current Lab Members
I am interested in studying molecular mechanisms of cortical developmental malformations in neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric diseases. By establishing animal models of human brain disorders and recruiting variety of molecular biology, genetic, morphology as well as transcriptomics methods, I hope my study will facilitate understanding the basics of neuopsychiatric diseases and developing time efficient therapeutic strategies.
- Research InterestsMental Disorders; Brain; Embryo, Mammalian; Interneurons; Neurons; Synapses; Neurodegenerative Diseases; Organizers, Embryonic; Pluripotent Stem Cells; Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells; Neural Stem Cells; Dopaminergic Neurons; GABAergic Neurons
Dr. Micali is associate research scientist in Rakic lab. He received his Master Degree in Biology from the State University of Lecce-Italy in 2002, and then his Ph.D in Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology from the State University of Milan-Italy in 2006. From 2003 to 2008, he worked at the Molecular Genetics unit lead by Professor Francesco Blasi, at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute (Milan). He was interested in studying the role of TALE transcription factors (Pbx, Prep and Meis) in controlling cell survival and proliferation genes during mammalian development, using mouse and human “diseased” genetics models, such as Down Syndrome patients derived cells, and cancer cells. In 2008, as post-doc fellow, Dr. Micali joined Professor Pier Paolo Di Fiore's lab, at IFOM Istitute, Milan, where he worked on the role of Notch signaling in breast cancer. From 2010 to 2017, Dr. Micali received a post-doctoral training in molecular neurodevelopmental biology at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD), Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore-USA. Here, he worked in Dr. Ronald McKay's lab on modeling corticogenesis in vitro and defining the cellular and transcriptional dynamics as neural stem cells (NSCs) progress throughout neurogenesis. At LIBD, Dr. Micali studied the key molecular steps that control the generation of functional cortical neurons from NSCs derived from fetal mouse and human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), and the regulatory events that during corticogenesis control the different developmental neural lineages. Major interest was dedicated to understand the role of fate determinant molecules such as FGF2, BMPs and WNTs in specifying NSCs states and neurogenesis. Dr. Micali has also been involved in projects to define and systematically analyze developmental variation in multiple hPSC lines. He collaborated with AstraZeneca Neuroscience in a genetic study to screen schizophrenia patient specific iPSC derived neurons. In this pipeline, he was directly involved in the development of new cellular assays. From July 2017, Dr. Micali is in Professor Pasko Rakic's lab, where he is continuing to study the regulatory mechanisms of NSC specification, in particular cortical areas specification (frontal vs occipital and dorsal vs ventral forebrain NSC specification) and zone specificity (VZ vs SVZ and CP). Dr. Micali is working to identify new neuronal subtypes precursors during the development of neocortex in rodents, non-human primates (NHP) and humans. His current focus is on the identification and characterization of the cellular and transcriptional dynamics involved in development of species-specific differences in corticogenesis.
- Research InterestsCentral Nervous System; Neurodegenerative DiseasesMany years of experience in worldwide laboratories (Russia, France, Norway and Hungary) lend to expertise in the methods of scanning and transmission electron microscopy including pre- and post-embedding immunolabeling. This also let me introduce to Yale the method of three-dimensional reconstruction of large cell fragments such as neuron cell bodies or processes from serial electron micrographs.
Graduate StudentSummary of Research and Future Directions: My interest is in how neurons change their connectivity and structure during the "critical period" of development and how this may be applicable to human disorders. Currently, I am investigating the possibility of inducing critical period-like synaptic plasticity in an adult
Md/PhD StudentI am interested in developmental dynamics, i.e. changes to the neural stem cell niche as development proceeds through time. I am interested in neural molecular identity, differentiation, and cell fate restriction in early cortical progenitors. My thesis work focuses on the interactions between both novel and well-established transcriptional regulators in cortex development.