Imaging dynamics of endogenous protein interactions in single dendritic spines

2018 Scientific Innovations Award
Ryohei Yasuda, Ph.D.
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Changes in the efficiency of synaptic communications between neurons underlie learning and memory. This process is called synaptic plasticity and is caused by biochemical reactions mediated by hundreds of species of molecules in each synapse. Many mental diseases are caused by failure of this process. However, the exact process of biochemical reaction in each synapse is not well understood, partly due to the lack of techniques for monitoring biochemical reactions in single synapses. Thus, in this project, Dr. Yasuda’s lab will establish a novel imaging technique to monitor precise biochemical reactions in single synapses by combining cutting-edge genome-editing techniques with advanced imaging technology. They expect that this will greatly improve the understanding of molecular processes underlying synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory, and will provide new insights into the mechanism of mental diseases.

Other Awards

James J DiCarlo, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Using Computer Models of the Neural Mechanisms of Visual Processing to Non-Invasively Modulate Brain States
DiCarlo’s research team is exploring an innovative approach to address emotional challenges, such as anxiety and depression. Traditional treatments for these disorders can be complex and often cause unpleasant side effects,…
Eiman Azim, Ph.D., The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Learning from Error: Defining how Cerebellar Circuits Drive Adaptation in a Changing World
The ability to move effectively through the world is one of the most important functions of the brain. However, the world and the body are constantly changing, meaning the signals…
Hillel Adesnik, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
All Optically Probing the Neural Codes of Perception in the Primate Brain
How patterns of action potentials in space and time give rise to sensory experience is among the most enduring mysteries of biology. Despite decades of experiments correlating brain activity patterns…
Chaolin Zhang, Ph.D., Columbia University
Human-specific Alternative Splicing, Brain
Development, and Ciliopathies
Like movie frames needing to be edited to tell an engaging story, pieces of genetic information stored in DNA for each gene need to be sliced and rejoined, through a…