📚 Join us for an insightful Online Seminar! 🧠
🗓 Date: August 21, 2023
🏛 Venue: Block 07-109
⏰ Time: 02:00 PM
🔬 Title: Small but mighty: How fruit flies help us understand the human brain
📖 Abstract: The human central nervous system comprises about 86 billion distinct nerve cells of varying shapes, sizes, and functions. These cells cooperate to determine our behavior, our moods, our interests, and our basic body functions like breathing and locomotion. Astonishingly, each one of these billions of unique nerve cells arose from a single ancestral cell, the fertilized egg. So, if all nerve cells share this common ancestry, how does each one ultimately decide on its own unique “fate”? Answering this question is fundamental to understanding how our brains develop and change as we transition from embryonic stages to childhood to adulthood and how alterations in that process can lead to atypical or pathological brain function. Given the ethical and practical concerns inherent in studying human subjects, researchers sometimes approach these fundamental questions through the use of “model organisms”. Among those organisms, the humble fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has delivered a particularly high return on investment. Although the fly brain has only a fraction of the nerve cells found in an adult human brain, its cells bear striking similarities in structure, organization, and function to those in humans. Deciphering the molecules and mechanisms that steer developing nerve cells toward their ultimate fates in flies can therefore lend insight into similar mechanisms in humans. In this seminar, I will highlight examples of how researchers have used flies to gain deep insight into the human nervous system and its component parts, and I will share some data from my own experiments examining the impact of a few conserved molecules on the growth of specific nerve cell subtypes.
🌟 About the Speaker: Mala Misra is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Washington College, a small liberal arts college in Chestertown, Maryland. She received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on how cells, especially nerve cells, develop their unique shapes and properties during embryonic development. At Washington College, she teaches courses in cell biology, genetics, developmental biology, and neurobiology.
📌 This seminar is perfect for anyone intrigued by the wonders of neuroscience, developmental biology, and genetics. Mark your calendars and be ready to embark on a journey of discovery!