Once seen as the nerve cells’ foot soldier, the axon emerges as an independent decision-maker
As cells go, neurons are pretty weird.
Most other cells come in spherical blob-like shapes with a central nucleus. Neurons come in a variety of wild and spiky forms, with branching projections sprouting out of their tiny bodies in all directions.
Unlike their blobby brethren, neurons have distinct regions. There’s the cell body, home to the nucleus. Then come the axons and dendrites, the...
They’ll join two American winners in studying at Oxford next fall
On the heels of the announcement that two American undergraduates from Harvard had been awarded Rhodes Scholarships, three international Harvard College students have been informed that they too will head to Oxford in the fall.
The Gazette talked with Michael Liu, Mattea Mrkusic, and Olga Romanova about their interests and their plans.
A New Way of Looking at Neurons: Jeffrey Macklis receives NIH Pioneer Award funding to study complexity of the subcellular systems within individual neurons
As a neuron develops, the axon grows from the central cell body like an arm with many fingers reaching out to explore the surroundings. These fingers, known as growth cones, travel long distances seeking out specific other neurons to form synapses, connective links that create the circuitry in the brain controlling sensation, movement, thinking, and...
'Molecular Recorder' would reveal secrets of brain development
For the first time, a primitive movie has been encoded in -- and then played back from -- DNA in living cells. Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health say it is a major step toward a "molecular recorder" that may someday make it possible to get read-outs, for example, of the changing internal states of neurons as they develop.
Early in his research career, Jeffrey Macklis set out to unite two seemingly disparate fields of neuroscience: neural development and brain repair. At the time, this was an unorthodox idea, and “being a brain repair guy was a little shady,” he says. Still, he thought, “if we figured out how the brain was built, then maybe we could figure out how to rebuild it or fix it, and we might also be able to figure out something about why it breaks.”
Macklis has made strides in understanding the cells and pathways of the brain’s cerebral cortex, the outer layers of...
SEATTLE, April 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced today the award of Allen Distinguished Investigator (ADI) grants to six groups of researchers with projects at the frontier of one of the most challenging roadblocks in neuroscience: growing mature human brain cells in the laboratory. The projects are funded at a total of $7.5 million over three years.
"This new cohort of Allen Distinguished Investigators and their research is especially...
Researchers identify potential new route to therapy
Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers have identified a faulty signaling pathway that, when corrected in mice, ameliorates the symptoms of Rett syndrome, a devastating neurological condition. The findings could lead to the discovery of compounds or drugs that may benefit children affected by the disease, says neurobiologist Jeffrey Macklis, a member of the HSCI Executive Committee.
The research was published recently in Nature Communications. Noriyuki Kishi and Jessica MacDonald...
Czupryn et al. "Transplanted Hypothalamic Neurons Restore Leptin Signaling and Ameliorate Obesity in db/db Mice" Science, 2011.
We'll start with the db/db mouse [...]. This mouse is genetically designed to develop severe morbid obesity and diabetes soon after birth. This is because it lacks a receptor for a hormone called leptin. Leptin is a hormone that plays a major role in appetite and metabolism. Decreasing your sensitivity to leptin, by decreasing leptin receptors, say (as in the the db/db mouse), produces striking obesity and...
Scientists have identified a gene in mice that plays a central role in the proper development of one of the nerve cells that goes bad in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and some other diseases that affect our motor neurons.
It’s a devastating disease, changing behavior, causing uncontrolled movements, blindness, coma, and, finally, death. And we all have the makings of it in our heads.
When it topples cows, it’s known as mad cow disease. The human form is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In sheep, it’s scrapie. It’s a rare malady caused by a misshapen protein known as prion protein, or PrP. The big mystery is why people, cows, sheep, and other mammals have so much of the protein in their bodies, particularly in the brain.