People may take for granted their ability to touch their nose and know that they are touching their own face, and not another’s. What someone may not know is that each of the 100 billion neurons in your brain also have this ability of self-recognition.
As individual nerve cells, called neurons, grow branches and connect with thousands of other neurons during brain development, their own branches distinguish between themselves and the branches of other neurons — an important adaptation that avoids entanglements. If a neuron cannot do this, it will not form a functional brain circuit — a key aspect of a healthy, functioning brain.
In this lecture, Dr. Maniatis plans to discuss the role of protocadherin proteins in brain wiring, which is a complex, but fascinating story. These protiens provide individual neurons with a “barcode” that allows them to distinguish between themselves and other neurons – a complex story of gene regulation, protein structure and function and brain wiring in mice, which has ultimately led to a connection to neuropsychiatric disorders in humans,
Tom Maniatis, PhD, is the Isidore S. Edelman Professor of Biochemistry; Principal Investigator at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute. Dr. Maniatis also contributes to clinical medicine by heading Columbia’s precision medicine initiative, created in 2015. This collaboration between Columbia and New York-Presbyterian Hospital aims to understand the relationships between human genetics and disease mechanisms, and to ultimately use this knowledge to personalize treatments for individual patients. Success will require a deep collaboration between early-stage research scientists, such as those at the Zuckerman Institute, and clinicians at Columbia University Medical Center.
Registration is required; seating is first come, first served.
This talk is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture series, offered free to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. The lectures are hosted by Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.