Neuroscience & Non-Communicable Diseases
Speaker: Dr Shanker Karunanithi, The University of Queensland
Shanker has an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Physiology from the University of Sydney. He undertook postdoctoral work at the University of Toronto and then held faculty positions at the University of Arizona, Charles Sturt University and Griffith University. His publications have appeared in a range of journals, including Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Nature Communications and the Journal of Neuroscience. He is a Visiting Research Fellow and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Queensland.
Disruption of activity within neural circuits compromises their outputs, leading to abnormal behaviours. The nervous system is however capable of recruiting homeostatic adaptations which stabilise circuit outputs in the face of such disruptions.
Using the genetically tractable model organism, Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), we study those adaptations which operate at synapses in a simple, naturally-formed neuromuscular circuit which controls movement. Here we employ genetics to selectively perturb the activity profile of an individual circuit element in vivo and make recordings from single synaptic inputs formed by the genetically manipulated and unmanipulated neurons within the circuit in vitro. We find an unusual adaptation, termed presynaptic downscaling, which stabilises circuit output, by uniformly downscaling neurotransmitter release across all synaptic inputs.
Shanker will discuss these findings and their broader implications.
All welcome. Drinks and nibbles from 3:30pm, seminar starts at 4pm.