Michelle Monje is a physician-scientist studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms of postnatal neurodevelopment and neuroplasticity. Monje’s clinical training is in neurology, and her scientific training is in the field of neural development, with an emphasis on glial biology and cell signaling. Monje’s research program focuses on myelination, neuron-glial interactions and the microenvironmental determinants of normal and malignant neural precursor cell behavior.
Microglial influences on normal neural precursor cell function and the impact of microglial neuroinflammation following cancer therapies on cellular mechanisms of neuroplasticity and brain homeostasis is one area of deep focus (Monje et al., Nat. Med., 2002; Monje et al., Science, 2003; Monje et al., Ann. Neurol., 2007; Gibson et al., Cell, 2019).
The regulation of normal and malignant glial cells by neurons and neuronal activity is another area of particular emphasis (Gibson et al., Science, 2014; Venkatesh et al., Cell, 2015; Venkatesh et al., Nature, 2017; Qin et al., Cell, 2017).
Together with these basic studies, Monje’s research program executes preclinical studies of novel therapeutics (Grasso et al., Nat. Med., 2015; Nagaraja et al., Cancer Cell, 2017; Mount et al., Nat. Med., 2018) in order to translate new therapies to the clinic. With respect to neuronal activity-regulated myelination, Monje’s group is presently working to understand the molecular mechanisms that mediate activity-regulated myelin plasticity (Gibson et al., Science, 2014; Venkatesh et al., Nature, 2017) and how aberrant myelin plasticity contributes to neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders.