Navigation Links
Chemist receives NIH funding to unravel tricks of neuronal wiring
Date:12/29/2008

Joshua Maurer, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences, has received a four-year, $1,216,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health for research titled "Unraveling Development: New Materials for Understanding Neuronal Wiring."

Maurer's long term objective is to develop methodology that allows the study of a variety of neuronal wiring processes. He is starting by unscrambling a phenomenon known as midline crossing using zebrafish. During development, neurons from the right eye cross the midline of the brain to make a connection in the left hemisphere.

"Our goal is to build a substrate that looks like what a growing neuron would encounter in the brain as it goes from the eye to where it has to make its final connection in order to do a feedback response," Maurer explained. "We want to replicate the interactions (in the brain) on a glass surface by laying down a series of molecules with nanoscopic control. Then we can watch in real time, with a microscope, how a neuron is guided through this pattern."

Their findings could help explain more about the fundamentals of nerve damage and enable better nerve repair some day.

They are developing strategies that give "robust, stable" surfaces that can be studied for weeks. Current techniques give surfaces with limited stability, around 5 days. "We have recently published new patterning techniques that allow us to build protein patterns directly on glass and are just starting to meet our goals of building complex systems," Maurer said.

Traditionally, to elucidate a protein's role in a known pathway, scientists make a "knockout" animal by inactivating the gene that codes for the protein and observing the resulting effect in the animal. However, this technique cannot be used to study proteins involved in development because these proteins can have multiple functions.

"If you knock out a developmental protein, there is a potential that you affect some upstream event so you never do the event you are interested in," Maurer said.

Maurer's neuronal "road map" overcomes this problem by isolating the guidance system from the zebrafish's neurobiological milieu. By watching the neuron grow in real time, he will be able to determine exactly which proteins tell the neuron to turn left, right, or stop.

Knowledge gained in these studies could be applied to reconnecting severed nerves in humans. "This eye crossing event happens in every organism with two eyes. Last time I checked that was all of them. I don't see any cyclopses wandering around," Maurer said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tony Fitzpatrick
tony_fitzpatrick@wustl.edu
314-935-5272
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Clemson chemists discover new way antioxidants fight debilitating diseases
2. Computational actinide chemistry: Are we there yet?
3. Chemists get grip on slippery lipids
4. American Chemical Society calls green chemistry bill a smart step
5. Using green chemistry to deliver cutting-edge drugs
6. Good earth: Brown chemists show origin of soil-scented geosmin
7. Penn biochemist receives NIH New Innovators Award
8. Chemistry turns killer gas into potential cure
9. K-State chemistry professor to receive Masao Horiba award
10. Yale chemist receives NIH Young Investigator Award for antibody targeting
11. Biogeochemistry -- A window into the Earths ecological health
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2016)... -- Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the ... latest premium product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. ... ... ... Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision ... Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete ... MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions ... of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... April 20, 2016 The new ... a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door ... reader or the door interface with integration authorization management ... control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control ... the building installations offer considerable freedom of design with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the z-dimension of ... higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. Z-dimension ... of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow cell product ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The ... is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits a ... crime scene to track the criminal down. An ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly ... support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce ... cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: