Biology Talk on Stereotypic Neural Circuits in the Worm

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 12:00pm
SBASSE Dean’s Smart Lab, 4th floor

Title of Thesis:                                                                                            

Probing the assembly of stereotypic neural circuits in the worm

Guest Name: Ms. Maryam Majeed

Date: December 12, 2018
Time: 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm
Venue: SBASSE Dean’s Smart Lab, 4th floor                                                                                                                         
Host: Dr. Amir Faisal


Neurons need to connect with one another to communicate and confer behaviors. An overarching logic of how these synaptic connections are specified to ultimately build stereotypic neural circuits is not well-understood in any organism to this day. I will discuss the tractability of the tiny nematode worm C. elegans as a model organism for studying circuit assembly. You will hear about strategies for visualizing neuron-specific neurites and synapses in vivo. The transparent worm is especially amenable to fluorescent labeling of subsets of neurons and their synapses because of the increasing knowledge of genes distinctly expressed in unique neuron types, giving us the fine resolution needed to probe the complex question of circuit assembly. It's no wonder that synaptic labeling tools are fast-developing in the worm, enabling us to study key questions in developmental neuroscience in the brain of a live, developing animal.


Ms. Majeed is a PhD candidate at the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, USA. She completed her BS in Biology from LUMS in 2015. To complement her research, Ms. Majeed has taught scientific writing and communication to undergraduate fellows and led the Women in Science group at Columbia. She also works with BioBase Harlem, a community lab at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, to promote scientific exploration using simple invertebrates.