Come join your fellow postdocs at UB for a Postdoc Appreciation Reception on Friday,September 24th , 2010 at 17 Norton Hall , North Campus from 3:30 pm- 5:30 pm to celebrate !
To understand molecular mechanisms for fast information transfer and integration at excitatory synapses we focus our research onNMDA RECEPTORS
We seek to define their activation pathway, modulatory mechanisms and structure-function relationships to better understand the roles played by these proteins in the brain. NMDA receptors are involved in synaptic development, plasticity, memory, and learning and in several neuropathies including stroke, neurodegeneration, chronic pain,addiction, schizophrenia and epilepsy.
DISTINGUISHED SCIENTIST LECTURES
Anthony Auerbach PhD
Professor of Physiology and Biophysics,
University at Buffalo, SUNY Neurotransmitter, Receptor, Synapse
Todd C. Sacktor, MD Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology,Neurology SUNY Downstate Medical Center,StonyBrook
Mechanisms of Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity
My research interests have always been in neuroscience, particularly in determining the molecular basis of behavior and neurological disorders. During my undergraduate training in the area of behavioral neuroscience, I studied the role of serotonin in the regulation of circadian rhythms. This training laid the ground work for my interest in neuronal ion channels. During my first year of graduate school, all of my rotations were in laboratories that studied different aspects of ion channels including trafficking, physiology, and neuronal systems.
These experiences led me to join the Popescu Lab to study the molecular physiology of NMDA receptors. I am currently funded by an NRSA F31 fellowship from the NINDS to investigate how interactions between the ligand binding domains of the NMDA receptors impact on the receptor's activation pathway. Determining the molecular basis of excitatory neurotransmission and its control will hopeful lead to new developments in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease, stroke and mental disorders including addiction and schizophrenia.
I joined the Popescu lab in June 2010 after getting my PhD in Neuroscience from Indira Raman’s lab at Northwestern University. Both my pre-doctoral and post-doctoral research are focused on ion channel proteins. Ion channels underlie the electrical activity in the brain, meaning they control both the inputs and outputs of a neuron, as well as communication between different parts of the neuron itself. Therefore, understanding the way these proteins work is crucial to understanding brain signaling. In particular, I am interested in the mechanisms by which ion channels open, close, and inactivate/desensitize, and how these processes might change neuronal activity. Currently, I am examining the mechanism of calcium-dependent desensitization in single NMDA receptors and I hope to extend these findings about the details of receptor gating to signaling at the neuronal level, i.e., how processes like desensitization or modal gating in NMDA receptors affect spiking or even plasticity. My experience in the Popescu lab as a post-doctoral researcher will prepare me to become an independent scientist.
I joined the lab in May 2010 with hopes of learning how pharmacological agents modulate the NMDA receptor, and how this modulation affects brain processes. I am studying how the commonly used local anesthetics bupivacaine and lidocaine interact with the NMDA receptors by looking at these drugs influence on channel kinetics. I hope from my experiences here in the lab that I will develop the critical thinking skills necessary to become a successful scientist.
I joined the lab to learn about and study the way that NMDA and AMPA receptors function to mediate synaptic transmission on brain. My goal is to gain more insight into the how the brain works when it comes to memory and the ability to learn. In the long run, I want to gain knowledge and skills that would allow me to help people who have had a stroke regain some of the brain functions lost. Currently, I am investigating the activity patterns of single NMDA receptors that carry single-residue substitutions to gain better understanding of how they react to certain pharmaceuticals and how we can increase the function of these receptors.
I joined the lab in June of 2010 with hopes of learning about neuroscience processes and abnormalities at one of the most fundamental levels: that of the receptor. My current project in the lab is dealing with calcium permeability through the NMDA receptor, more specifically with characterizing how it can be altered through physiological and structural means. As a relatively new member of the lab, I am looking forward to answering questions directly related to my project, as well as maturing as a young scientist who will be able to formulate my own scholarly questions regarding synaptic receptors.
I started in the Popescu lab in March 2008 and I am on track to earning a PhD degree in Biochemistry by May of 1012 or so. My current project relates to the mechanism of NMDA receptor inhibition by proton and seeks to reveal how the receptor behaves under different proton concentrations. This knowledge is relevant to the functional response of adult NMDA receptors during conditions such as stroke and epilepsy, when the pH of the interstitial fluid in the brain undergoes rapid change. Both the work and the people in the lab - past and present members, and especially Gabriela - have helped me realize my potential and assisted me in the ongoing process of becoming a scientist. I am confident that by the end of my journey in this lab I will be equipped with the knowledge and experience required to move forward in my chosen scientific career.