Our research concerns the roles of spontaneous electrical activity in the development of the nervous system. We use a combination of patch clamp and calcium imaging methods to study spontaneous waves of electrical activity that propagate across the mouse cerebral cortex in the late embryonic and early postnatal stages of development. We have identified putative pacemaker circuits that initiate these waves, circuits that involve the neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate. Recent experiments have used mice genetically altered to eliminate GABA synaptic transmission to identify the exact roles played by GABA in these waves. Current work is using a mouse which has GABAergic neurons in the brain labeled with a red fluorescent marker protein to investigate how the electrical activity of these neurons helps to regulate how they migrate during development to their final locations in the brain.
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Fred Hutch | University of Washington
Institute for Systems Biology (ISB)| Center for Infectious Disease Research