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Upcoming Seminars 2017-2018


Tuesdays, Eccles (EIHG) Auditorium, 4:00-5:00 P.M.

September 19: Damien Fair PA-C, Ph.D., Oregon Health and Science University

Damien Fair
Associate Professor, Departments of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatry
Associate Scientist, Advanced Imaging Research Center
"Considerations for characterizing heterogeneity in typical and atypical brain development"

Faculty Host: Jeffrey S. Anderson, Radiology
Student Host: Jace King 

Research Summary: My laboratory focuses on mechanisms and principles that underlie the developing brain. The majority of this work uses functional MRI and resting state functional connectivity MRI to assess typical and atypical populations. A second focus has become testing the feasibility of using various functional and structural MRI techniques in translational studies of developmental neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism). We are exploring ways to better characterize individual patients with these psychopathologies to help guide future diagnostic, therapeutic and genetic studies.


October 17: Anders Dale, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

Anders Dale
Professor, Departments of Radiology and Neuroscience
"Integration of quantitative neuroimaging and genetics"

Faculty Host: Jeffrey S. Anderson, Radiology
Student Host: Jace King 

Research Summary: 

Dr. Dale is a Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the UC San Diego Department of Radiology, and Professor of Neurosciences, Psychiatry, and Cognitive Science. He is the founding Director of the UCSD Center for Multimodal Imaging and Genetics (CMIG), and the Center for Translational Imaging and Precision Medicine (CTIPM).  His research program is focused on the development and application of advanced techniques for acquisition and analysis of multimodal structural and functional imaging data, in combination with genetic information. He has played a key role in the development of several methods that are widely used in the neuroscience community, including the FreeSurfer software package, rapid event-related experimental design for functional MRI, advanced diffusion MRI for non-invasive characterization of tissue microstructure, and spatiotemporal mapping of brain activity using MEG, EEG, and MRI. Dr. Dale has authored more than 300 papers, and has been cited more than 80,000 times, with an h-index of 124.


November 21: Benjamin Arenkiel, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine

Benjamin Arenkiel
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
"Genetically dissecting brain circuits"

Faculty Host: Matt Wachowiak, Neurobiology & Anatomy
Student Host: Andrew Moran 

Research Summary: The main objective of the Arenkiel Laboratory is to better understand how genes and activity intersect to form, refine, and maintain neural circuits in the mammalian brain.  Our current work focuses on three main areas: 1) mechanisms of ongoing synapse formation of adult-born neurons in the mouse olfactory system, 2) elucidating functional circuit architecture of the olfactory system, and 3) basal forebrain control of hypothalamic feeding circuits.  Towards these projects, we implement multifaceted experimentation that utilizes viral circuit tracing, opto- and chemical genetic activity manipulations, imaging, electrophysiology, and genetic engineering methods in the mouse.

Our recent findings have uncovered novel roles for neuropeptide signaling onto adult-born neurons in the olfactory system, revealing a neuromodulatory mechanism for continued circuit plasticity, synapse formation and integration of new neurons in the adult brain.  Also, we found that levels of neural activity directly influence the neural architecture that is generated through newborn neuron integration.  Notably, in contrast to the refinement observed for excitatory maps, inhibitory sensory maps broaden with maturation.  However, like excitatory maps, inhibitory sensory maps are sensitive to experience.  These data describe the development of an inhibitory sensory map as a network, highlighting the differences from previously described excitatory maps.  Finally, through our investigations into the mechanisms that govern integration of adult-born neurons in the olfactory system, we have serendipitously uncovered novel convergent hypothalamic circuits that govern sensory processing, feeding behavior, and stress.


January 16: Matthew Kennedy, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Denver

Matthew Kennedy
Assistant Professor, Departments of Pharmacology
"New tools for visualizing and controlling synaptic function"

Faculty Host: Jason Shepherd, Neurobiology & Anatomy
Student Host: Andrew Taibi 

Research Summary: My lab studies how synapses in the central nervous system are modified by experience, with the ultimate goal of understanding how these mechanisms contribute to normal cognitive function and how they break down in disease. We combine optical, electrophysiological, and biochemical approaches to address how fundamental cell biological processes influence synaptic function and plasticity.


February 20: Katherine Nagel, Ph.D., New York University Neuroscience Institute

Kathy Nagel
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology & Physiology
"Neural circuits for navigation in Drosophila"

Faculty Host: Adam Douglass, Neurobiology & Anatomy
Student Host: Sasha Luks-Morgan

Research Summary: A major task of the brain is to move animals through the world.  This requires the brain to take in sensory information from multiple modalities, and to combine this information in sensible ways to guide behavior.  We use the model organism Drosophila to understand the neural circuits underlying multi-modal integration and navigation.  To this end, we have developed two novel behavioral paradigms that allow us to quantify how inputs from different modalities are integrated to guide navigation decisions.  In one paradigm, visual and mechanosensory cues drive conflicting behaviors that are resolved by a behavioral sequence.  In a second paradigm, odor gates a switch in orientation to a mechanosensory wind cue.  Ongoing work aims to discover the neural circuits underlying these behaviors, through a combination of genetic silencing, electrophysiology, and functional imaging.


March 20: Mriganka Sur, Ph.D., FRS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mriganka Sur

Paul E. and Lilah Newton Professor of Neuroscience
Director, Simons Center for the Social Brain
"The functional logic of cortical circuits"

Faculty Host: Jason Shepherd, Neurobiology & Anatomy
Student Host: Kyle Jenks 

Research Summary: Dr. Mriganka Sur is the Newton Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Simons Center for the Social Brain at MIT, which he founded after 15 years as head of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Dr. Sur studies the organization, plasticity and dynamics of the cerebral cortex of the brain using experimental and theoretical approaches. He has discovered fundamental principles by which networks of the cerebral cortex are wired during development and change dynamically during learning. His laboratory has identified gene networks underlying cortical plasticity, and pioneered high resolution imaging methods to study cells, synapses and circuits of the intact brain. His group has demonstrated novel mechanisms underlying disorders of brain development, and proposed innovative strategies for treating such disorders. Recently, his laboratory has discovered core functional rules of inhibitory-excitatory neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex, and revealed dynamics of information flow and transformation across widespread cortical areas during goal-directed behavior.


April 17: Joshua Sanes, Ph.D., Harvard University

Joshua Sanes
Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
"Wiring up the retina: cells and synapses"

Faculty Host: Ning Tian, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Student Host: Brent Young 

Research Summary: The retina is emerging as a leading model system for elucidating mechanisms that govern neural circuit assembly and function. It is about as complex as any other part of the brain, but has technical advantages that facilitate detailed analysis of molecular mechanisms leading to precise connectivity. Sanes and colleagues use genetic, morphological and physiological methods to elucidate these mechanisms.


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Last Updated: 7/11/17