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Neuronal Response to Injury and Stress: Insights from C. elegans

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Speaker

Yishi Jin, Ph.D.
HHMI Investigator
Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Professor, Biological Sciences
UCSD School of Medicine

The Jin lab research focuses on the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying the development and function of the nervous system using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The transparency, defined anatomy, and rapid life cycle of this organism greatly facilitate our studies at the subcellular resolution. Moreover, the entre cell lineage and connectome are known, enabling functional understanding at deep levels. Through forward genetic screening in combination with multi-layered molecular and cellular manipulations, we are discovering key molecules that play conserved roles in synapse formation, maintenance, and function, as well as those underlying adult axon regeneration. Our ultimate goal is to connect the studies of basic mechanisms to the understanding of human neurological disorders and neuronal repair.

Summary

(This will be a hybrid lecture, on Tuesday, in person at Lipsett Amphitheather and on NIH VideoCast.) Neurons employ many mechanisms to sustain function throughout lifetime. Following traumatic injury to axons, neurons often initiate complex responses to regenerate and repair. To understand the underlying mechanisms, we established in vivo laser axotomy assay in C. elegans. Using live imaging, we characterized rapid cellular dynamics following axon injury. We carried out large-scale genetic screening and discovered several molecular pathways. This talk aims to give an overview of the conserved mechanisms, focusing on our studies of axonal protein phase separation and the regulation of a stress-sensing kinase. 

Objectives

  • To understand the cellular mechanisms underlying axonal injury response.
  • To identify key molecules in maintaining the function of mature nervous system
  • To gain an understanding how evolutionary conservation and divergency contribute to neuronal diversity.

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