Edward S. Ruthazer
My research is focused on synapse formation. We use state-of-the-art microscopy to image specific synapse formation in the visual system to understand how maps of retinal projections are formed and refined by activity. We study the mechanisms that shape the cells that compose the developing nervous system by in-vivo time lapse imaging of axonal, dendritic and glial branch dynamics. In addition, an important tool is targeted gene expression to delineate the interactions between neural activity, synaptic adhesion molecules and transcriptional mechanisms. Using these approaches my group has made fundamental contributions our understanding of how the nervous system develops the correct synaptic connections that are crucial for the functioning of the brain. We are studying the development of topographic maps in the brain with a special focus on the influence of neural activity and early experience on the morphology and connectivity of neurons. Individual axonal and dendritic branches in the intact brain are constantly remodeling throughout development. Using in vivo time lapse two-photon imaging of single neurons in the retinotectal system of Xenopus tadpoles and the visual cortex of rodents, the laboratory is able to observe the development of CNS connections in the intact, living animal. Combining specific molecular and pharmacological manipulations with in vivo imaging is a powerful approach to unravelling the intracellular and intercellular signaling pathways involved in the formation and refinement of connections between brain regions. In addition to studying these key events and molecular players in CNS development, the lab is also interested in developing novel imaging and electrophysiology techniques for the study of neuronal connectivity and intracellular signaling.
Lab MembershipsRuthazer Lab (Principal Investigator/Director)
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 Rue University,
H3A 2B4, Canada
Web Page: http://ruthazerlab.mcgill.ca/