Understanding the Nanoscopic Structural Framework of Brain Astrocytes

Keith Murai - McGill Center for Research in Neuroscience

Dec. 4, 2020, 2:30 p.m. - Dec. 4, 2020, 3:30 p.m.

Zoom (see link below)

Hosted by: Kaleem Siddiqi

Astrocytes are important partners for neurons in the healthy brain and have active roles in the physiology and homeostasis of neural circuits. Astrocytes perform diverse functions through their rich structural and molecular properties. However, the cellular complexity of astrocytes and the mechanisms that generate differences among these cells remain poorly understood. This presentation will focus on studies aimed at understanding the remarkable anatomical and functional complexity of astrocytes in the healthy and injured/diseased brain. Results will be presented showing how neurons and astrocytes communicate in the brain, followed by recent findings from a collaboration with Dr. Kaleem Siddiqi’s group to quantitatively understand the nanoscopic framework of astrocytes using advanced serial electron microscopy and computer vision techniques. This work aims to extract novel structural information about the brain with the anticipation that it can be incorporated into large-scale brain structure/connectome initiatives that have thus far largely focused on neurons and not astrocytes.

Keith Murai is the Director of the Centre for Research in Neuroscience at McGill University, Leader of the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, and Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. His research focuses on: (1) Understanding how neurons and glial cells cooperate to regulate brain development and homeostasis and (2) Discovering mechanism that regulate the plasticity of synapses that underlie memory formation and cognition. His research group also interlaces preclinical models of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease to better understand how specific neuronal and glial pathways become disrupted under pathological conditions and how activating/inhibiting specific pathways can protect the diseased or injured brain. His laboratory uses advanced genetic, imaging, physiological, and optogenetic techniques and has pioneered approaches for understanding glial cell form and function in the brain.

Zoom link: https://mcgill.zoom.us/j/92616954585(zoom login required)

Reception after the talk in gather town: https://gather.town/app/3qgGGqVmX8sDW2Zb/Reception