How do neurons maintain their specialised status?

Project Details

Nerfin-1 mutant neuroblast clones contain ectopic neural stem cells (Mira, red)

The bidirectional conversion between differentiated cells and stem cells often underlies carcinogenesis. Mechanisms must be in place to prevent differentiated cells from reverting to multipotent stem cells. We have recently discovered that zinc finger transcription factor Nerfin-1 is required to maintain neurons in a differentiated state. In the absence of Nerfin-1, neurons rapidly increase their cellular growth and switch on stem cell markers, then form tumours. The lab is interested in identifying novel transcription factors that regulate this process and investigate whether these factors are involved in regeneration.


Dr Francesca Froldi, Post Doctoral Researcher

Kellie Veen, PhD student


Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute

Dr Patricia Jusuf, Biosciences, University of Melbourne

Research Publications

Francesca Froldi, Milan Szuperak et al., G&D, 2015

Joep Vissers, Francesca Froldi et a., Cell Reports, 2018

Research Group

Cheng laboratory: Stem cell and organ size control regulation

Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience, Cancer

School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Cancer in Biomedicine, Systems Biology, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

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