Description of Cellular Neurobiology
Neurons are the most specialized cells in any organism. They use different chemical and electrical signaling mechanisms to conduct information from one part of the body to another. In order to do so, neurons develop very complex morphologies with processes that can be several thousand times longer than the neuronal cell body diameter. The development and functioning of neurons depend on highly controlled protein expression, very specific protein interactions and signal transduction cascades as well as regulated protein and membrane transport and degradation mechanisms. In order to understand how the complex nervous systems develops and functions in normal and disease states, it is essential to dissect the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms.
Modern cellular neurobiology uses a variety of molecular, genetic, biochemical, cell biological and biophysical approaches to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuronal development, signaling, apoptosis, degeneration and regeneration. Live cell imaging approaches including Fluorescent Speckle Microscopy, Total Internal Reflection Microscopy and Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer are important techniques used by labs in the Integrative Neuroscience Training group to study the dynamics of cytoskeletal, signaling and receptor proteins in neurons.
Lee, A. C., and D. M. Suter. 2008. Quantitative analysis of microtubule dynamics during adhesion-mediated growth cone guidance. Dev. Neurobiol. 68 ( 12 ): 1363-1377. (pdf)
Learn more about additional research being done in Integrative Neuroscience.