Sculpting the nervous system: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of neural circuit refinement Event as iCalendar

15 August 2018

1 - 2pm

Venue: Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Location: CBR Seminar Room 501-505,

Host: Centre for Brain Research

Contact email: d.robinson@auckland.ac.nz

Karen Zito

Professor Karen Zito, Center for Neuroscience, University of California, Davis

One of the most remarkable properties of the brain is its abil­ity to undergo adaptive modifications in response to changing environments. This property, known as experience-dependent plasticity, is essential not only for the fine-tuning of develop­ing circuits, but also for behavioural changes, such as learning and memory, in adults. Over the past few decades, advances in fluorescent labelling and imaging techniques have enabled direct visualization of the structural reorganization of neuronal circuits during experience-dependent circuit plasticity. Den­dritic spines have been a major focus of these studies; the gain or loss of spines is thought to represent the establishment or elimination of neural circuit connections, and the enlargement or shrinkage of spines is associated with an increase or de­crease in the strength of synaptic connections. I will present the results of our efforts to define the neural activity patterns and downstream signalling mechanisms that drive the structural and functional modifications of dendritic spines during experience-dependent plasticity.