Upcoming Seminars 2012-2013
September 18: King-Wai Yau, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
"Melanopsin Signaling in the Eye"
Faculty host: Yingbin Fu, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Student host: Hui Xu
Research Summary: Research in the Yau lab focuses on the area of sensory transduction, specifically visual and olfactory transductions, which are the processes by which the senses of vision and olfaction are initiated.
October 16: Thomas M. Glaser, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Davis
Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy
"The developmental basis of human hereditary eye malformations: New genetic mechanisms and pathways"
Faculty host: Ed Levine, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Student host: Patrick Gordon
Research Summary: Research in the Glaser lab is aimed at understanding the molecular basis of eye development in mammals, using biochemical and genetic approaches, knockout and transgenic mouse models, and mutational analysis of human hereditary eye disease. Projects involve transcription factors and signaling pathways that control patterning, cell fate specification, and differentiation, which have been deeply conserved during evolution.
November 20: R. Mark Wightman, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Professor, Department of Chemistry
"Monitoring catecholamine neurotransmission in the brain with cyclic voltammetry"
Faculty host: Kristen Keefe, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Student host: Danielle Friend
Research Summary: Dr. Wightman's research focuses on catecholamine neurotransmission in awake, behaving animals. In particular, he is interested in examining the dopaminergic response in animals participating in operant responding for reward. In order to examine dompaminergic neuron firing in behaving animals, he uses fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) and single-unit electrophysiological recordings during operant responding for natural reward. His research has great implications for processes of learning and memory and brain response to reward, as well as insights into how the brain changes in response to drug administration. His work combines behavior with molecular measures and uses novel techniques, such as FSCV.
January 15: Randy Buckner, Ph.D., Harvard University
Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
"Exploring the Large-Scale Architecture of the Human Brain"
Faculty host: Jeff Anderson, Radiology
Student host: Jared Nielsen
Research Summary: Dr. Buckner's research applies neuroimaging techniques to explore brain areas involved in human memory. He has recently focused on three interrelated questions. The first question surrounds how human prefrontal cortex might participate in the formation and retrieval of memories, and how these structures may interact with medial temporal regions. The second line of inquiry relates to how the human brain codes the remnants (the echo) of a memory while it is being remembered. The final research question targets how activity within the human brain changes when items are repeated. He has also recently become interested in how information about the healthy brain can help to guide our understanding of damaged and diseased brain states such as occur after a stroke or during the progression of Dementia of the Alzheimer Type (DAT). A final focus of his work is to develop novel methods for functional neuroimaging -- such as those employed during event-related fMRI.
February 19: Thomas Südhof, M.D., Stanford University
Professor, Departments of Molecular & Cellular Physiology
"Molecular mechanisms of synapse formation and specification"
Faculty host: Erik Jorgensen, Biology
Student host: Leo Parra
Research Summary: The Südhof laboratory studies how synapses form in the brain, how their properties are specified, and how they accomplish the rapid and precise signaling that forms the basis for all information processing by the brain. Moreover, as increasing evidence links impairments in synaptic transmission to diseases such as Alzheimer's and autism, Südhof's interests have included understanding possible molecular mechanisms contributing to these and related disorders.
March 19: Nephi Stella, Ph.D., University of Washington
Associate Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
"Targeting the cannabinoid signaling system for therapeutic benefit"
Faculty host: Karen Wilcox, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Student host: Meredith Gibbons
Research Summary: Dr. Stella's laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms that control the amplitude of neuroinflammatory responses, which differ between neuropathologies. Some neuropathologies induce exacerbated neuroinflammatory responses, while others inhibit them. His lab is interested in determining the signaling molecules produced by microglia and astrocytes that lead to either exacerbated or inhibited neuroinflammatory responses, with the aim of identifying therapeutics that keep these responses in check and reduce the cell damage that uncontrolled neuroinflammatory responses induce.
April 16: Michela Marinelli, Ph.D., Rosalind Franklin University
Associate Professor, Department of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology
"Dopamine neuron activity and addiction liability"
Faculty host: Sharif Taha
Student host: Andrea Schwager
Research Summary: The Marinelli lab is interested in the role of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system in psychopathologies such as drug addiction and schizophrenia. It uses a variety of behavioral tasks paired with pharmacology and in vivo recording techniques to study addiction liability in animal models of drug addiction.