Altering Neuronal Connections with Light
April 11, 2019, 7:30 PM
Armenian Society of Los Angeles
117 South Louise Street, Glendale, CA 91205
About the presentation:
Neurons are highly complex cells in the brain that communicate information via electrical impulses that are responsible for our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Maintaining an exact balance of electrical activity within each cell is critical for healthy function of the brain as slight imbalances in activity can lead to diseases like autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia and epilepsy. How does the brain maintain such a delicate balance of activity? Better understanding this balance requires neuroscientist to precisely manipulate neuronal connections, activity and gene expression. To address this need, we have engineered proteins that allow us to control neuronal activity and connections using light. This technology can also be applied to regulate gene expression in neurons which can have profound impact on our understanding of neuronal functions.
About the speaker:
Aida Bareghamyan completed her Bachelor of Science at University of Southern California in Biological Sciences in 2015 summa cum laude. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, she studied mechanisms of DNA repair and the regulation of enzymes that lead to mutations in DNA. Following her passion for research, she pursued a PhD in neuroscience at USC. She is currently a fourth year student developing new techniques to manipulate neuronal activity with light. These techniques will allow for experiments to probe how the brain processes information and which parts of the brain are active during learning or various behaviors.
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