Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (From the Applicant's Abstract): MRSDA Candidate: The applicant
describes a plan to broaden his research experience and skills in sophisticated
imaging approaches for cellular neuroscience. A mechanism of structural
plasticity on dendrites of CA1 hippocampal pyramidal neurons will be
investigated drawing on techniques in serial electron microscopy and immunogold
labeling, and training in multiphoton laser scanning microscopy, one of the
most advanced techniques for live tissue imaging. The candidate's long-term
goal is to become an independent investigator in an academic setting.
Environment: The MRSDA sponsor is one of the foremost researchers studying
synaptic ultrastructure. The investigator will interact with developmental,
cellular, molecular, and systems neurobiologists as well as neuroethologists in
a diverse Department of Biology and neuroscientists in other Departments. Two
faculty collaborators with expertise in immunogold labeling and optical physics
will participate in the MRSDA program. The sponsor's laboratory is outstanding,
possessing all of the physical and instrumental resources needed for this MRSDA
program and comprised of research professionals, postdoctoral fellows, and
technical staff. Research: Most excitatory synapses in the adult brain occur on
dendritic spines and changes in spine number or structure and composition can
affect communication between neurons. It was thought that spine number would
increase to meet the demand of enhanced synaptic activity and vice versa. We
have shown on the mature hippocampal neurons that spine number dramatically
increases when synaptic activity is reduced or blocked. In contrast, developing
neurons appear to require activation to initiate spine formation. The MRSDA
specific aims are: 1) Determine under what conditions of neuronal activity
dendritic spines form on immature hippocampal neurons. 2) Establish the
ultrastructural locations of synapses under conditions of spine formation on
immature hippocampal neurons. 3) Determine how rapidly new spines can form on
mature hippocampal neurons when synaptic activity is blocked. 4) Compare the
composition and detailed structure of newly formed versus previously stable
dendritic spines on mature hippocampal neurons. The results will have important
implications for understanding how new spines might be generated when overall
neuronal activity is low and could be lost during excessive activation such as
with epileptic seizures.
Effective start/end date2/15/014/30/07


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $182,952.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $139,978.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $137,435.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $182,952.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $182,952.00


  • Medicine(all)


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