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Thursday, January 23 2020
11:00am
Room 1005, Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), 950 Atlantic Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332
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Synaptic Connectivity and Function of an Excitatory Interneuron in Cerebellum-like Systems
Timothy Balmer, Ph.D.
Vollum Institute
Oregon Hearing Research Center
Oregon Health & Science University
 
ABSTRACT
The cerebellum is essential for coordinated movement and balance, but despite being a major focus of study for over 100 years, the circuitry and physiology of the cerebellum is incompletely understood.  Dr. Balmer’s work focuses on the unipolar brush cell, a recently discovered excitatory interneuron with fascinating synaptic signaling properties.  His work elucidates how signals are transformed using unconventional synaptic mechanisms at the unipolar brush cell‘s enormous synapse, which may be a specialization to integrate slowly changing signals.  The inputs to these cells were investigated using transgenic, viral and optogenetic approaches, revealing a remarkably specific pattern of innervation from the vestibular system. Dr. Balmer plans to continue studying the role of unipolar brush cells in cerebellar function, as well as in the dorsal cochlear nucleus, a cerebellum-like circuit containing UBCs with important roles in hearing.
 
Host: Annalise Paaby, Ph.D.

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