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Synaptic Mechanisms for Learning / Myelin Debris-induced Inflammation & Potential Treatments for SCI

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

8:00 AM-9:30 AM

BIOMED / Global Innovation Partnerships (GIP) Dual Seminar

Title Seminar #1:
Probing the Synaptic Mechanisms for Learning
Yang Yang, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Life Science and Technology
ShanghaiTech University

To probe the ultrastructural properties of synapses associated with auditory fear learning, we performed deep learning-based, automated large-scale synapse identification and reconstruction from serial electron microscopy (EM) images of the mouse auditory cortex. We found that auditory fear learning induced the formation of complex synapses consisting of a single axonal bouton contacting multiple spines, but not a single spine contacting multiple boutons. Long-range EM reconstruction revealed that those spines originated from different dendrites. Computational modeling based on EM and in vivo imaging of synaptic structures showed that multi-dendritic synapses elevate information storage capacity for long-term memory storage.

Yang Yang, PhD, graduated from Zhejiang University (B. Eng. in Biomedical Engineering, 2005) and obtained a PhD in Neuroscience from Stony Brook University in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Anthony M. Zador at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She then conducted postdoctoral research in Dr. Mu-ming Poo’s lab at the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Yang joined ShanghaiTech as a principal investigator in 2017, working on synaptic and circuit mechanisms underlying learning and memory.


Title Seminar #2:
Myelin Debris-induced Inflammation and Potential Treatments for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Yinghui Zhong, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) causes partial or complete functional loss below the injury site. Patients with SCI suffer lifelong disability and require continuous physical and medical care. After SCI, the injury site is filled with lipid-rich cellular and myelin debris. Macrophages are the predominant phagocyte that is responsible for debris-clearance and become lipid-laden foam cells. Recent studies show that the foam cells have reduced efflux capacity and may become pro-inflammatory and neurotoxic. We are developing cell culture models to investigate how inflammation and lipid-rich debris in the injured spinal cord act in concert to contribute to the inflammatory status of macrophages, which might be the cause of the unresolved chronic inflammation after SCI. We are also exploring biomaterial-based strategies to induce lipid efflux from macrophage foam cells and resolve inflammation.

Yinghui Zhong, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University. She received her BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering, and her MS degree in Biological Sciences and Biotechnology from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Dr. Zhong received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research interests are focused on (1) developing therapies to promote regeneration and scarless wound healing after spinal cord injury, using drug delivery, hydrogel scaffold, and stem cell strategies; (2) promoting neuroprotection and immunomodulation after spinal cord injury; and (3) developing multifunctional therapeutic nanoparticles for treating cardiovascular diseases.

Contact Information

Lisa Williams

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