Research Divisions: Brain Research and Integrated Neurophysiology B.R.A.I.N. Platform
Research Interests: Synapse formation, synaptic physiology, voltage-dependent calcium channels, ion channels, calcium binding protein, rhythm generation and regulation, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.
Detailed Description:At the mature synapse, the presynaptic voltage-dependent calcium channels co-localize with synaptic elements at the active zone. However, the mechanisms underlying development of presynaptic architecture during synapse formation are largely unknown. Since synaptogenesis between identified pre- and postsynaptic neurons in a mammalian system is often difficult to study at a single cell level, our laboratory uses Lymnaea synapse as a model to determine cellular and molecular mechanisms by which voltage-dependent calcium channels and synaptic structural proteins are targeted to specific synaptic sites during synapse formation and synaptic plasticity. We subsequently test whether the mechanisms in invertebrate neurons are also conserved in mammals. We also study the molecular determinants of calcium channel functions and modulation, ion channel basis of rhythm generation and regulation, as well as the role of ion channels and calcium binding proteins in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. The main experimental approaches used in our laboratory include patch clamp recordings, optical imaging, cell culture, immunocytochemical, biochemical and molecular biological techniques.
Animals: mouse, L. stagnalis
Cell and tissue culture: Brain slice, cortical cells, hippocampal cells. Cell lines.
Techniques and approaches: Electrophysiology, ratiometric calcium imaging, confocal imaging, recombinant DNA, gene expression analysis, microarrays, qRT-PCR, RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, Western blot, mass spectrometry, signal transduction characterization, proteomics, siRNA, stereotaxic brain surgery, behavioral tests.
Patch-clamping rigs (Multiclamp 700, Axonpatch 200, digidata (1300 series)), motorized micromanipulators, calcium imaging system (monochromator PTI, TILL), confocal microscope (Zeiss), culture hood, culture incubators, dissecting microscope, electrometer, fluorescence microscope, gel apparatus (BioRed), low- and high-speed centrifuge (-80°C), micropipette puller (Sutter), real-time/thermocycler, setups for electropherosis (BioRed).