Cori Bargmann: Genes, the Brain and Behavior

I. Genes, the Brain and Behavior
II. Cracking the Circuits for Olfaction: Odors, Neurons, Genes and Behavior

Part I: Genes, the Brain and Behavior

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Lecture Overview
In her first talk, Cori Bargmann explains how individual genes can affect the brain and behavior. Humans are complex creatures, but as many as 99% of our genes are shared with simpler organisms. By focusing on the genes for a family of proteins found in many organisms, the G protein-coupled receptors, Bargmann illustrates that mutations in a single gene can cause significant behavioral changes in organisms as diverse as nematodes, dogs and humans. In Part 2, Bargmann presents work from her own lab in which the olfactory system in C. elegans was used to dissect the role of genes on behavior. She shows us how it was possible to map the neuronal circuits that modulate worm behavior in response to different odors.

Speaker Bio
Cori Bargmann received her B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Georgia and her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bargmann began her studies on C. elegans during her post-doc with Bob Horvitz, also at MIT. She joined the University of California, San Francisco as an assistant professor in 1991, and moved to the Rockefeller University in 2004. She is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Bargmann’s lab uses a relatively simple organism, the nematode C. elegans, and its extremely sensitive sense of smell to study how genes regulate neuronal development, function, and behavior. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including election to the National Academy of Sciences.

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