Seminar Series

Please Note: Starting in the Fall 2016 semester, seminars are at 9:30 AM.

  • Upcoming Seminars

    • 23Feb

      "Designer GPCRs as Novel Tools to Identify Pathways Critical for Glucose and Energy Homeostasis" - Pharmacology Seminar by Jurgen Wess, PhD

      Where: Jordan 1-17
      Hosted by Thurl Harris. My laboratory pursues the following two major lines of work. GPCRs - Molecular Basis of Activation and Function One major focus of my group is to understand how GPCRs function at the molecular level. GPCRs, one of the largest protein families found in nature, are cell-surface receptors that mediate the functions of an extraordinarily large number of extracellular ligands (neurotransmitters, hormones, etc.). The human genome contains approximately 800 distinct GPCR genes, corresponding to 3-4 percent of all human genes. Strikingly, 30-40 percent of drugs in current clinical use act on specific GPCRs. Understanding how GPCRs function at the molecular level is therefore of considerable therapeutic relevance. My lab uses different molecular, genetic, and biochemical strategies to address the following fundamental questions regarding the structure and function of these receptors: (1) How do GPCRs recognize and activate G proteins? (2) Which conformational changes do activating ligands induce in the receptor protein? (3) What is the structural basis and functional relevance of GPCR dimerization? My lab is also engaged in efforts, in collaboration with Dr. Brian Kobilka's lab, to obtain high-resolution X-ray structures for members of the muscarinic receptor family of GPCRs. These studies should eventually...

    • 23Mar

      Pharmacology Seminar by Haoxing Xu, PhD

      Where: Jordan 1-17
      Hosted by Bimal Desai. Haoxing Xhu, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan. Research Interests: We use an integrative approach with state-of-art techniques including molecular biology, bioinformatics, biochemistry, immunochemistry, electrophysiology, fluorescence imaging, spinning-disk confocal microscopy, and mouse genetics. Currently our research is mainly focused on : 1) ion channels in the lysosome, and 2) TRP channels in the skin.

    • 30Mar

      Pharmacology Seminar by William Zagotta, PhD

      Where: Jordan 1-17
      Student Hosted Seminar Speaker; Contact Adi Narahari (akn4uq) for more details. Molecular Mechanisms of Ion Channel Function: Ion channel proteins are the fundamental molecular elements for the control of membrane excitability and signaling in the nervous system. In response to one or more of a variety of stimuli, including neurotransmitters, voltage, and internal second messengers, ion channels open and allow the passage of certain selected ions across the cell membrane. In this way, channels can transduce these stimuli into changes in membrane potential and/or intracellular levels of calcium, the signals most used by the nervous system. The properties of each ion channel are highly specialized for its particular function. To this end, our long term goal is to determine the molecular mechanisms of the opening and closing conformational changes in ion channels. We have focused on a family of channels that is regulated by the direct binding of cyclic nucleotides, cAMP and cGMP. These channels play a fundamental role in the initial generation of an electrical signal in sensory receptors such as photoreceptors and olfactory receptors, and in the control of the pacemaker activity in cardiac and neuronal cells. To study the mechanism of gating by...

    • 06Apr

      Pharmacology Seminar by Stephen Liberles, PhD

      Where: Jordan 1-17
      Hosted by Bimal Desai. Neural circuits that generate perception and control behavior are poorly understood at a molecular level. We are interested in understanding how the brain processes external sensory and internal homeostatic signals to initiate behavioral and physiological responses. We study how our senses of smell and taste process different environmental cues (like pheromones, food cues, predator odors) to elicit innate mating, foraging, and avoidance responses. In recent efforts, we are also investigating internal sensory modalities of the vagus nerve.

    • 13Apr

      Pharmacology Seminar by Kevin Staley, MD

      Where: Jordan 1-17
      Hosted by Jaideep Kapur and Mark Beenhakker. Dr. Staley is presenting the Neurology Grand Rounds on Friday 11/14 as the Eric Lothman Lecturer. Our long-term research goal is the development of new approaches to the treatment of epilepsy based on a clearer understanding of the necessary steps in seizure initiation and propagation. The two major themes in the lab are neuronal ion transport and the spread of activity in neural networks. Neuronal ion transport underlies signaling at all fast synapses. The importance of neuronal ion transport was underscored by our recent discovery that reversed ion transport in the immature brain was blocking the effects of the anticonvulsants most commonly used to treat neonatal seizures, and that a safe and well-characterized diuretic could ameliorate this condition. Our work on the spread of excitation in neural networks combines fluorescent imaging of network activity with computerized analysis and modeling to understand how normal and abnormal signaling progresses through neural networks. We have found evidence for reentrant or circular patterns of neural activity that resemble cardiac fibrillation and precede seizures. We are currently testing whether this reentrant activation of neural circuits is the earliest stage of a seizure, and the stage...

    • 27Apr

      Pharmacology Seminar by Peter Penzes, PhD

      Where: Jordan 1-17
      Hosted by Julius Zhu. Synaptic Structural Plasticity: From Molecules to Cognitive Functions and Disease. Research in my lab centers on signal transduction networks that regulate the structural and functional plasticity of excitatory synapses. Synaptic communication between neurons within brain circuits underlies cognitive functions, and is disrupted in numerous neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Most central excitatory synapses are located on dendritic spines, and spine structure is essential for normal and pathological brain function. Spine dynamics is crucial for the establishment, maintenance, and experience dependent modification of connectivity in neural circuits. Conversely, abnormal dendritic spine morphology occurs in patients with neurodegenerative, psychiatric, and neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer's disease. As spine morphology is closely associated with cognitive functions, understanding the mechanisms of regulation and dysregulation of spine plasticity is necessary to elucidate the neural bases of cognitive functions and disorders. The long-term goals of my research are: 1) to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms that control synaptic structural plasticity. 2) to determine how they influence the development, functioning, and plasticity of brain circuits underlying cognition. 3) to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic pathology and determine their impact on disease endophenotypes. To to achieve these objectives,...

    • 04May

      Pharmacology Seminar by Sabrina Diano, PhD

      Where: Jordan 1-17
      Sabrina Diano, PhD, Principal Investigator, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, of Comparative Medicine and of Neuroscience, Director, Reproductive Neurosciences Group, Yale School of Medicine RESEARCH INTERESTS Endocrine System; Nervous System; Diseases Project 1: Role of peroxisome proliferation in leptin resistance Recent data, including those from our laboratories raised the notion that ROS generation is not merely a by-product of substrate oxidation, but it plays a crucial role in modulating cellular responses involved in the regulation of energy metabolism. Specifically, this project focuses on the role of peroxisomes in the regulation of intracellular ROS levels, and their involvement in leptin resistance. The aim of these studies may ultimately uncover treatments of obesity. Project 2: Role of prolyl carboxypeptidase in metabolism regulation The major anorexigenic peptide in the hypothalamus is alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (?-MSH), the product of the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) gene. When released, alpha-MSH is rapidly degraded, a process that is likely to play an important role in melanocortin signaling. We have identified a carboxylase enzyme, prolyl carboxypeptidase (PRCP), which is expressed in the hypothalamus and initiates degradation and inactivation of extracellular alpha-MSH. This project aims to decipher the role of PRCP in metabolism regulation and to uncover its potential...