Past Event

Tom Maniatis - Finding the Bar Codes in our Brains: Using Genetics to Identify the Brain’s 100 Billion Neurons

February 7, 2019
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Columbia University Forum Auditorium, 3207 Broadway (at 125th Street), New York

Event Description:

People may take for granted their ability to touch their nose and know that they are touching their own face, and not another’s. What someone may not know is that each of the 100 billion neurons in your brain also have this ability of self-recognition.

As individual nerve cells, called neurons, grow branches and connect with thousands of other neurons during brain development, their own branches distinguish between themselves and the branches of other neurons — an important adaptation that avoids entanglements. If a neuron cannot do this, it will not form a functional brain circuit — a key aspect of a healthy, functioning brain.

In this lecture, Dr. Maniatis plans to discuss the role of protocadherin proteins in brain wiring, which is a complex, but fascinating story. These proteins provide individual neurons with a “barcode” that allows them to distinguish between themselves and other neurons – a complex story of gene regulation, protein structure and function and brain wiring in mice, which has ultimately led to a connection to neuropsychiatric disorders in humans.

Event Speaker:

Tom Maniatis, PhD, is the Isidore S. Edelman Professor of Biochemistry; Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics; Principal Investigator at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute. Dr. Maniatis also contributes to clinical medicine by heading Columbia’s precision medicine initiative, created in 2015. This collaboration between Columbia and New York-Presbyterian Hospital aims to understand the relationships between human genetics and disease mechanisms, and to ultimately use this knowledge to personalize treatments for individual patients. Success will require a deep collaboration between early-stage research scientists, such as those at the Zuckerman Institute, and clinicians at Columbia University Medical Center.

Event Information:

RSVP by January 31, 2019. Registration is required. Seating is first come, first served. For more information about this event, please contact the Zuckerman Institute at [email protected]. Columbia University Forum Auditorium, 3207 Broadway (at 125th Street), New York