Alexander JaworskiAssistant Professor of Neuroscience
Alex Jaworski obtained a Master's degree in Biochemistry at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. He completed his PhD in Developmental Genetics at New York University where he studied neuromuscular synapse formation under Dr. Steven J. Burden. During his postdoctoral training in axon guidance with Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, he worked at the biotechnology company Genentech and at Rockefeller University. Dr. Jaworski joined the faculty at Brown in July 2013.
Jaworski A, Tom I, Tong RK, Gildea HK, Koch AW, Gonzalez LC, Tessier-Lavigne M (2015) Operational redundancy in axon guidance through the multifunctional receptor Robo3 and its ligand NELL2. Science 350(6263):961-965
Olsen O, Kallop D, McLaughlin T, Huntwork-Rodriguez S, Wu Z, Duggan CD, Simon DJ, Lu Y, Easley-Neal C, Takeda K, Hass PE, Jaworski A, O’Leary DD, Weimer RM, Tessier-Lavigne M (2014) Genetic analysis reveals that Amyloid Precursor Protein and Death Receptor 6 function in the same pathway to control axonal pruning independent of beta-secretase. J Neurosci 34(19):6438-6447. PMID: 24806670
Zhang B, Xiao W, Qiu H, Zhang F, Moniz, HA, Jaworski A, Condac E, Gutierrez-Sanchez G, Heiss C, Clugston RD, Azadi P, Greer JJ, Bergmann C, Moremen KW, Li D, Linhardt RJ, Esko JD, Wang L (2013) Heparan sulfate deficiency disrupts developmental angiogenesis and causes congenital diaphragmatic hernia. J Clin Invest 124(1):209-221. PMID: 24355925
Jaworski A, Tessier-Lavigne M (2012) Autocrine/juxtaparacrine regulation of axon fasciculation by Slit-Robo signaling. Nat Neurosci 15(3):367-369. PMID: 22306607
Jaworski A, Long H, Tessier-Lavigne M (2010) Collaborative and specialized functions of Robo1 and Robo2 in spinal commissural axon guidance. J Neurosci 30(28):9445-9453. PMID: 20631173
Jaworski A, Smith CL, Burden SJ (2007) GA-binding protein is dispensable for neuromuscular synapse formation and synapse-specific gene expression. Mol Cell Biol 27(13): 5040-5046. PMCID: PMC1951497
Jaworski A, Burden SJ (2006) Neuromuscular synapse formation in mice lacking motor neuron- and skeletal-muscle-derived Neuregulin-1. J Neurosci 26(2):655-661. PMID: 16407563
Jevsek M, Jaworski A, Polo-Parada L, Kim, N, Fan J, Landmesser LT, Burden SJ (2006) CD24 is expressed by myofiber synaptic nuclei and regulates synaptic transmission. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103(16): 6374-6379. PMCID: PMC1435367
My laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of brain wiring. The mature nervous system contains billions of neurons that are interconnected in a highly specific manner and communicate through trillions of synapses. We are interested in understanding how this complex wiring pattern is established during embryonic development. To this end we employ a variety of experimental approaches, including molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, and mouse genetics.
Connections between neurons are the substrate for nervous system function. The pattern of these connections within neural circuits is a key determinant of information flow through the system and therefore shapes behavioral output. Neurons are assembled into functional circuits during embryonic development, and when this wiring process goes awry, it can cause neural circuit dysfunction and disease. Hence, to understand the etiology of diseases that result from brain mis-wiring, including major neuropsychiatric illnesses such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia, it is critical to elucidate the mechanisms that govern neural circuit development. Understanding these mechanisms not only promises to aid the diagnosis and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, but it also has the potential to inform therapeutic approaches aimed at repairing damaged neuronal connections after physical injury or onset of neurodegenerative disease.
The goal of the Jaworski lab is to understand how the nervous system is wired up during embryonic development. The guidance of developing axons to their correct targets is an important aspect of brain wiring, and it is mediated by molecular cues that activate receptors on the leading process of the axon, the growth cone, to attract or repel growing axons. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of axon guidance are still not completely defined, and it remains elusive how information from multiple cues is integrated or filtered to sculpt neural circuits. We study these mechanisms of axon pathfinding and target selection with an emphasis on signal integration and filtering. To this end, our lab employs a variety of experimental approaches, including molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, embryology, and mouse genetics, and we incorporate cutting-edge methods such as ex utero culture of mouse embryos and in toto imaging of the developing nervous system.