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Dr Vilaiwan Fernandes
Rockefeller 515, 514
Dr Vilaiwan Fernandes profile picture
  • Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

Education and Training

2015-2018 | Postdoctoral Fellow, New York University, USA   

2010-2014 | PhD, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University, Canada

2006-2009 | Research Apprentice, NIGMS Center for Cell Dynamics, University of Washington, USA

2002-2006 | BSc, Biology (Minor in Mathematics), University of Victoria, Canada


Prizes and Awards

2018 | Wellcome-Beit Prize, UK 

2018 | SCDB Young Investigator Award, USA

2018 | Wellcome Trust & Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Research Fellowship, UK       

2017 | Banting-CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship, USA     

2015 | NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship, USA  

2015 | President's thesis medal, Canada         

2010 | NSERC Doctoral Scholarship, Canada

Research Summary

   Our brains are composed of two main cell-types, neurons and glia. Neurons, the electrically excitable cells that process information, have been studied intensely but glia were thought of as support cells and often ignored. Recent work has shown that glia play essential roles in instructing brain development. Their dysfunction may therefore underlie or exacerbate many brain pathologies, underscoring the need to understand their normal roles.  

   We are generously funded jointly by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society to determine, at the cellular and molecular level, how glia regulate neural development. Conservation of biological processes enables us to investigate this question in the fruit fly, where we can make use of modern genetic and molecular techniques to ask how signals from glia regulate neuronal production, how glia can be reprogrammed into neurons and how different types of glia differ in their functions during brain development. 

01-SEP-2018 Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow Cell and Developmental Biology University College London, United Kingdom
01-APR-2017 – 31-AUG-2018 CIHR-Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow Biology New York University, United States
01-APR-2015 – 31-MAR-2017 NSERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow Biology New York University, United States
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