Jellyfish shed light on how human brain works
8 June 2009
Scientists at the University of Leicester are developing new ways of
studying how brain cells work by using fluorescent proteins from
Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Leicester, Nicholas
Hartell, is leading a research group examining the connections between
brain cells, called synapses.
And thanks to fluorescent protein sensors derived from proteins
originally discovered in jellyfish, the researchers can watch synapses
as they transmit and store information.
Professor Hartell, of the Department of Cell Physiology and
Pharmacology, will be explaining his research at an inaugural public
lecture at the University of Leicester (Tuesday 9 June at 5.30pm in
Lecture Theatre 1, Ken Edwards Building). The lecture is open to the
public and free.
He said: “Changes in the strength of signalling between excitable
cells in the brain provide a mechanism for information storage in the
brain. In this lecture, I will discuss how synapses, the specialised
connections formed between brain cells, can change their properties and
so contribute to the learning and the formation of memory.
“In particular, I will introduce recent work that aims to develop
methods of visualising synaptic transmission during learning. I will
also consider the application of technology originally developed for
televisions, projectors and the telecommunications industry to high
speed visualisation of neurones and neural networks.”
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