Upcoming Neuroscience Seminars

Seminars are Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in Merrill 4

Neuroscience seminars are open to the public and all are welcome.

  • Refreshments served at 4:15 in the McGuire 3rd floor lobby.
  • Occasionally, Monday Biology Seminars with relevence to Neuroscience are listed (4 PM; Merrill 4).

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Gerald B. Downes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“Genetic Analysis of Neurological Disorders in Zebrafish: The Sweet Smell of New Disease Models?”  

Research Summary: Using zebrafish as a model system, the Downes laboratory employs an integrated genetic, molecular, cellular, and behavioral approach to study locomotor networks. Since the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control locomotive behavior are often conserved among vertebrate species, their work can provide deeper insight into mammalian systems and furnish new models of human disease. One approach they have taken to examine the development and function of locomotor networks has been to characterize zebrafish mutants that demonstrate abnormal locomotive behavior. For this seminar, Dr. Downes will discuss zebrafish behavioral mutants that highlight the importance of the regulated degradation of select amino acids and re-uptake of neurotransmitters for nervous system development and function, while also providing new tools to combat two distinct neurological diseases. Host: Josef Trapani

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

David Van Vactor, Ph.D.  
Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School  
"MicroRNA Regulation of Neuromuscular Development in Drosophila"

Research Summary: " Much has been learned about the signaling pathways and networks of proteins that function together to build and modulate synaptic connections.  This rich molecular landscape is under the control of multiple classes of regulatory factors.  MicroRNA are versatile posttranscriptional regulators capable of tuning levels of gene expression across a large number of target genes. Through genetic screens in Drosophila, we have discovered that synapse formation and growth are controlled by conserved microRNA genes that orchestrate different stages of synapse development through distinct sets of direct and indirect targets. Having recently created a means of selectively inhibiting the function of any microRNA with spatio-temporal precision in vivo, we are now equipped to survey the functions of all microRNAs in Drosophila in many aspects of neural development, connectivity, behavior, and neurodegeneration.  Once this regulatory landscape has been mapped through comprehensive screens in this model organism, it will be possible for us to test the conservation of these mechanisms in mammalian neurons and circuits." Host: Ethan Graf


Seminars from past years are listed in the submenu.