Adish Dani, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Pathology & Immunology

High-resolution imaging of synaptic architecture and function Read More

Email: adani@path.wustl.edu
Lab Phone: (314) 286-0271
Lab Location: BJC Institute of Health 8115/8118
Keywords: synaptic mechanisms of sensory circuits, brain synapse structure-function relationships and plasticity during development and in neurodegenerative disorders, super-resolution microscopy, biochemistry, cell biology, optogenetics

High-resolution imaging of synaptic architecture and function

The sensory environment of an animal elicits innate or learned behaviors, which are a product of the changes in sensory cues and the internal state of neural circuits. The focus of my research is to understand this interplay between sensory experience and the plastic properties of neural circuits. Using the mouse olfactory and vomeronasal systems as models of chemosensory perception, my research will focus on molecular mechanisms that enable sensory transduction in the peripheral neurons as well as mechanisms of synaptic transmission at sensory circuits. Using molecular and biochemical tools, research in my lab will investigate the role of vomeronasal G-protein coupled receptors, MHC molecules and the TRPC2 channel in the detection of chemosensory cues. Recently we devised a novel super-resolution fluorescence imaging approach that enables nanometer resolution imaging of the molecular states of synapses. Application of this approach to the olfactory system revealed novel properties of these sensory circuits. We will continue to use super-resolution microscopy along with electrophysiological techniques to reveal the unique properties of olfactory sensory synapses and how these enable an animal to respond to its sensory environment. This relatively rapid and quantitative imaging approach has wide applicability to understand synapse structure-function relationships in a variety of neurobiological systems. In particular I am interested in understanding at a molecular level how the plastic properties of synapses change during development to enable learning and memory as well as how the molecular architecture of synapses is altered during neurodegenerative diseases.

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