The Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is a signalling molecule that is essential for embryonic development. It plays a role in cell growth, cell specialization and the normal shaping (patterning) of the body. When this signalling is not regulated normally in the cerebellum, it leads to a pediatric brain cancer called medulloblastoma.
Dr. Frédéric Charron, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neurobiology, is studying the molecular mechanism of Shh signalling in forming nervous system circuits. He and his research team are also investigating the molecular and cellular events that lead to the formation of medulloblastoma, which is found mostly in children. Ultimately, their work will improve our understanding of developmental disorders and cancers caused by defects in the Shh signalling pathway.