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BME WEBINAR SERIES: Catherine von Reyn, PhD, Drexel University
January 22, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
On Friday, January 22nd @ 11:00AM ET, we welcome Prof. Catherine von Reyn from Drexel University as she presents, “Engineering neural circuits to understand sensorimotor transformations.”
ABOUT THE WEBINAR
To interact with our environment, we rely on sensorimotor transformations where our nervous system outputs behavioral responses from inputs of light, sound, smell, taste, and touch. We here seek to uncover the general algorithms for these transformations and to establish the underlying circuit and molecular mechanisms that enable their computations. As our model system, we use the optic glomeruli of Drosophila melanogaster, a central brain region whose inputs are visual feature encoding neurons from the optic lobe (fly retina) and outputs include descending neurons that project to pre-motor and motor centers in the ventral nerve cord (fly spinal cord). To identify, probe, and manipulate these neurons, we apply the genetic engineering toolkit of Drosophila. We selectively label neural processes to investigate how sensorimotor circuits are established during development. We apply in vivo whole-cell electrophysiology and optogenetics to generate functional circuit diagrams. We combine selective neural silencing, electrophysiology, and computational modeling to establish the role of each neuron in sensory to motor integration. Finally, we manipulate these circuits during sensorimotor behaviors to investigate how they select and coordinate behavioral outputs. Our work has revealed key circuit structures and molecular mechanisms that underlie these transformations, and may help us understand how sensorimotor processing deficits arise in neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Catherine von Reyn is an Assistant Professor at Drexel University in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Sciences and Health Systems, with a secondary appointment at the Drexel University College of Medicine in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, her PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and conducted her postdoctoral work at Janelia Research Campus, HHMI.
ABOUT THE 2020-2021 BME WEBINAR SERIES
The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University is proud to host an annual weekly webinar series on the latest developments and research in Biomedical Engineering. The weekly series takes place on Friday mornings at 11:00AM Eastern and includes a variety of renowned academics from top universities to talk about their specific research and experience.