Alzheimer’s disease, autism, schizophrenia

Controlling synaptic function with light
2013 Seed Grant

Matthew Kennedy, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology
University of Colorado

Establishment of synaptic plasticity is essential for normal learning and memory and is impaired in numerous neuropsychiatric diseases including schizophrenia, autism, addiction and Alzheimer’s. While plasticity defects likely underlie many symptoms of these disorders, little is known about why plasticity is impaired, or the effects of plasticity in various brain regions on behavior. Dr. Kennedy and his lab propose to use a technology we have recently developed to control cellular protein interactions with light. They will implement this technology in neurons to prevent, induce or erase various forms of synaptic plasticity in genetically defined circuits. Fast, spatial control of cellular functions underlying plasticity will allow researchers to address difficult and previously intractable problems regarding how experience-dependent changes at the neural circuit level manifest in behavioral changes in the normal and diseased brain.

Other Grants

Sarah C. Goetz, Ph.D., Duke University
Uncovering a Novel Role for Primary Cilia in Eph/Ephrin Signaling in Neurons
2022 Seed GrantSarah C. Goetz, Ph.D. Duke University Women’s Council Seed Grant Primary cilia are tiny projections from cells that function like an antenna- they receive and may also send…
Erin M. Gibson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Circadian Regulation of Oligodendroglial Senescence and Metabolomics in Aging
2022 Seed GrantErin M. Gibson, Ph.D.Stanford University The brain consists of two main classes of cells, neurons and glia. Glia make-up more than half of the cells in the brain…
Yvette Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Dynamic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity During Spatial Exploration
2022 Seed GrantYvette Fisher, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley The Virginia (Ginny) & Roger Carlson Seed Grant Cognitive flexibility is critical for appropriately adjusting thoughts and behaviors to meet changing demands…
Byoung Il Bae, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Unique Vulnerability of Developing Human Cerebral Cortex to Loss of Centrosomal Protein
2022 Seed GrantByoung Il Bae, Ph.D.University of Connecticut Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Seed Grant The cerebral cortex is the largest and outermost part of the human brain. It is…