Cell Fate Determination in the Retina

For our next virtual event, Constance Cepko, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will be giving a talk on Cell Fate Determination in the Retina.

The talk will be hosted at 4 pm, while at 5.15 pm we are having a virtual Q&A chat with the speaker. Further details on how to join both sessions will be sent through our mailing list!

The Cepko lab investigates the mechanisms that direct development of the central nervous system (CNS) of vertebrates, with a focus on the retina. These studies have revealed that the retina has distinct types of progenitor cells that are biased, or committed, to produce distinct types of daughter cells in terminal divisions. The gene regulatory networks that underlie these cell fate choices are being studied by analysis of both gene function and cis-regulatory networks. New methods that enable these studies have been developed, including high throughput enhancer assays and quantitative, inexpensive and sensitive multiplex in situ hybridization methods.

Model-based predictions for dopamine

In collaboration with the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, we are excited to announce the first online talk with Yael Niv, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the Princeton University. Further details on how to join both sessions via Zoom will be sent on Thursday morning through our mailing list!

Coordinated cerebellar dynamics during goal-directed behaviour

Cortex Club Presents: Dr Dimitar Kostadinov

Everyone is welcome to attend this talk at 4pm in the Sherrington Room, Sherrington Building.

The cerebellum facilitates smooth motor execution and learning by constructing internal models that link sensation to action. In addition to this well-studied function, there is increasing evidence for a cerebellar contribution to cognitive processes, such as processing of reward. We aim to understand how sensory, motor, and higher-order parameters are encoded by populations of cerebellar neurons.
To address this question, we use population two-photon calcium imaging and Neuropixels probes to record activity from populations of cerebellar neurons, with a focus on Purkinje cells – the output neurons of the cerebellar cortex. In this talk, I will discuss our recent findings addressing how the climbing fiber pathway conveys both sensorimotor and reward-related signals to Purkinje cells during goal-directed behaviour, and how these signals are shaped by learning.

To join the speaker at the pub, sign up here: https://forms.gle/N2WxchKoagCW6LLq5

Dynamic control of presynaptic function in health and disease

Cortex Club Presents: Dr Nils Brose

Talk + lunch with the speaker at 2.30 in the Sherrington Library.
Talk at 1.15pm in the Large Lecture Theatre.

The process of synaptic vesicle priming is a key determinant of synapse strength and plasticity because it maintains a pool of readily releasable vesicles at any given time and determines the time course of synaptic fatigue and recovery, e.g. upon exhaustion of readily releasable vesicles during and after phases of high synaptic activity. The corresponding forms of synaptic short-term plasticity determine multiple complex brain functions, from sensory adaptation to working memory. Munc13s execute synaptic vesicle priming by regulating the assembly of fusogenic SNARE complexes. Munc13s are regulated by three major pathways, involving (i) calcium-calmodulin signaling via dedicated amphipathic calcium-calmodulin binding sites, (ii) diacylglycerol signaling via C1 domains, and (iii) calcium-phospholipid signaling via C2 domains. We studied the functional relevance of these regulatory pathways in various synapse types and found that calcium-dependent Munc13-regulating pathways are major determinants of synaptic short-term plasticity, synapse endurance, and synaptic fidelity. I will discuss these data in the context (i) of the combined role of signaling pathways that target presynaptic function, (ii) of the role of Munc13 priming proteins in determining the unique features of regulated exocytosis at nerve cells synapses, and (iii) of the role of Munc13 mutations in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Free sandwich lunch will be provided.

Algorithms for learning in the mammalian neocortex

On Thursday, we welcome Prof. Alison Barth from Carnegie Mellon University, for a talk on sensory information processing and plasticity in the neocortex. If you would like to join us for after-talk pub with the speakers, sign up here: https://forms.gle/ZkG1UgWQ8AKTKz7F8