Group leader: Ivan Rodriguez
Group name: Neurogenetics
Our group is interested in the organization, at a molecular level, of vertebrate neuronal systems involved in the perception of the outside world. We are particularly interested in the vomeronasal (VNO) system, a system responsible for the perception of pheromones in mammals. The VNO plays a crucial role in peer-mediated neuroendrocine effects and instinctive behaviors. These include, for example, mating, the establishment of social hierarchy and the regulation of ovulation. Hundreds of specialized receptors are expressed by vomeronasal sensory neurons; these receptors appear to both play a role in chemodetection and in the establishment of a functional vomeronasal axonal projection map in the brain. Using mouse genetics, we take advantage of the remarkably regulated expression of the genes coding for these receptors (one unique gene from a single parental allele expressed per neuron), and use this very unusual particularity as a genetic door to the exploration of the system.
Group website: http://genev.unige.ch/en/users/Ivan-Rodriguez/unit