John L. R. Rubenstein
University of California, San Francisco
Rubenstein's research focuses on the understanding of brain development. His discovery of regulatory genes Dlx2 & Tbr-1 led him to uncover the regional organization of the embryonic forebrain. He also elucidated the genetic control guiding the formation of mayor forebrain subdivisions. He discovered patterning centers that, through Fgfs, regulate neocortex regionalization, and that forebrain inhibitory interneurons originate in the ventral forebrain and documented their tangential migration. This showed how Dlx genes are essential for their generation and migration. He now concentrates on transcriptional mechanisms, including the identification of enhancer elements, that control transcriptional circuits that govern specification, differentiation and function of forebrain neurons. These discoveries contribute to the understanding of human brain evolution and the cellular and molecular underpinning of neurological diseases like autism and schizophrenia.