ZHENGPING JIA, Senior Scientist, Hospital for Sick Children
Talk Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Plasticity and Memory
Brain & Behaviour Seminar Series 2018-2019
Description of Talk: Dr. Jia's current research focuses on synaptic basis of learning and memory in health and disease. He utilizes a variety of cutting edge technologies, including advanced inducible and regional mouse genetics, confocal imaging, optogenetics, electrophysiological recordings and behavioral analysis. Specifically, his research centers around three areas. First, he investigates the mechanisms underlying long lasting synaptic plasticity, specifically long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD), widely studied cellular models for learning and memory, by interrogating various synaptic proteins, particularly glutamate receptors and their partners.Second, he elucidates the structural basis of synaptic plasticity and memory, specifically the formation, morphology and dynamics of the dendritic spine, the predominant structural component of the excitatory inputs. Finally, he studies how synaptic plasticity is altered in brain disorders by establishing various mouse genetic models and using them to probe the biological function of disease linked genes and the underlying pathogenic processes for a number of neurodevelopmental and mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and intellectual disability. The results from Dr. Jia's research is expected to uncover the fundamental processes involved in brain development, its normal function and dysfunction. They may also provide potential molecular targets for treating and preventing braindiseases caused by synaptic defects.
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