Seminar Series

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 3:30 PM



Dr. Ben Reese, University of California at Santa Barbara

Genetic Control of Neuronal Demographics in the Mouse Retina

The mature retinal architecture is composed of various types of neuron, each population differing in size and constrained to particular layers, wherein the cells achieve a characteristic patterning in their local organization. These demographic features of retinal cell populations are each complex traits controlled by multiple genes affecting different processes during development, and their genetic determinants can be dissected by correlating variation in these traits with their genomic architecture across recombinant-inbred mouse strains. I will discuss recent studies that use this approach to identify novel genes participating in the control of these demographic properties of neuronal populations, and consider the significance of this variation in neuronal number of understanding the formation of neural connectivity during development.

About the speaker:

Benjamin Reese completed his doctorate in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford in 1984. He spent five years as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Human Anatomy at Oxford. He returned to UCSB to join the faculty in 1989, in the Department of Psychology, holding an adjunct professorship in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Dr. Reese was the recipient of the 1997 UCSB Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research. His work is currently funded by grants from the National Eye Institute and National Institute of Mental Health. He is currently Editor-in-Chief for the journal, Visual Neuroscience.
His lab has been studying the organizing principles and developmental mechanisms governing the formation of the retinal architecture and the primary visual pathways. This work has been motivated as much by a curiosity in basic neurobiological questions as by the belief that a fundamental understanding of retinal and pathway formation will shed light on developmental disorders affecting the eye and optic projections.

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