Karel Svoboda: Optical Studies of Individual Synapses

I. Optical Studies of Individual Synapses
II. Plasticity and Signaling of Single Synapses

Part I: Optical Studies of Individual Synapses

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Lecture Overview

Neurons are connected to form complex networks by tiny junctions called synapses. Svoboda reviews the process of synaptic transmission and the methods traditionally used to image neurons and their synapses. He then describes powerful new methodologies that allow synaptic transmission and calcium signaling in individual synapses to be measured in intact tissue. This lecture is suitable for neuroscience graduate students.

In the second part of this lecture, Svoboda focuses on how the imaging techniques introduced in his first lecture can be used to study calcium signaling and downstream pathways such as Ras, at the level of single synapses. This lecture is also suitable for neuroscience graduate students.

Speaker Bio

Karel Svoboda is a group leader at The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus. His lab is studying synaptic plasticity in response to new experiences in the developing and adult neocortex. By developing new biochemical tools and new microscopes, Svoboda’s group has been able to track changes in individual synapses in intact tissue.

Svoboda received a BA in physics from Cornell University and a PhD in Biophysics from Harvard University. Following a post-doc at Bell Labs with Winfried Denk and David Tank, he joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he was a professor from 1997 to 2006 and HHMI investigator from 2000.

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Related Articles

Svoboda, K. and Yasuda, R. (2006) Principles of two-photon excitation microscopy and its application to neuroscience. Neuron 50:823-39.

Holmaat, A. and Svoboda, K. (2009) Experience-dependent structural synaptic plasticity in the mammalian brain. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 10:647-58.

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