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Seminar: Dr Suresh Jesuthasan
November 30, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Schreckstoff and the regulation of brain state
Wednesday 30 November @ 4 pm – 5:30 pm (Sherrington Library)
Suresh Jesuthasan from the A*Star – Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore will discuss his research at the Cortex Club on Wednesday 30 November. It is known that the skin of some fish produces a substance that can induce terror in other species. During the talk, Suresh Jesuthasan will discuss the nature of the substance, and some insights his group has gained into the neural circuits mediating these effects.
Suresh obtained an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, California, in 1990. His interest in biology was spurred by two summers at the Hopkins Marine Station, in Monterey. He then went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he obtained a D.Phil. in Zoology working in the laboratory of Julian Lewis. During this time, he spent two summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, learning microscopy and embryology. Suresh began experimenting in neuroscience during a four-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, Germany, in the department of Friedrich Bonhoeffer. He joined A*Star in February 2009 where he is an Associate Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience.
To survive, animals must react to stimuli in a manner that is appropriate for a given situation. We are using the zebrafish to investigate how this is achieved. As in many other fish, injury to one individual causes the release of an alarm pheromone that induces a dramatic fear response. Brain imaging suggests that the alarm substance activates the several regions, including the habenula, which is a regulator of multiple neuromodulators. To identify the function of the habenula, we have characterized upstream and downstream circuits. These studies, together with experiments on responses to a variety of other stimuli, lead to a general mechanism of how brain state may be optimally selected.