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, we 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. We expect that this will greatly improve our understanding of molecular processes underlying synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory, and will provide new insights into the mechanism of mental diseases.

Other Awards

Angelique Bordey, Ph.D., Yale University
The Role of Ribosomes in Synaptic Circuit Formation and Socio-Communicative Deficits
Our proposal aims at identifying a molecular mechanism responsible for autism-like socio-communicative defects in the developmental disorder, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC is a genetic disorder with a 30-60% incidence…
Adam E. Cohen, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
To spike or not to spike? Mapping dendritic computations in vivo.
The brain is made of neurons, and neurons convert synaptic inputs to spiking outputs. How does a neuron decide when to spike?
Gina Turrigiano, Ph.D., Brandeis University
Homeostatic Maintenance of Neocortical Excitation-inhibition Balance by Ciliary Neuropeptidergic Signaling
Brain circuit wiring is adjusted during adolescence to generate fully functional circuits, and this process depends on an interaction between genetics and experience. During this period of experience-dependent development, excitatory…
Gregory Scherrer, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mechanisms of Affective States and Drug Discovery at the Intersection of Chronic Pain and Opioid Addiction
Pain is normally a sensation that we experience when our body is exposed to damaging stimuli, such as the noxious heat of an open flame. However, when chronic, pain becomes…