Image of the Month: Neurons in the retina

Distinct populations of neurons in the retina comprise the first synapses in the visual system. Contacts between these neurons are crucial for visual function. Image courtesy of Courtney Burger/the Samuel lab/Cell Reports, 2018.

 

Brain function is all about connections. In the retina, neurons comprise distinct populations that form precise connections in synaptic layers.

“What makes these cells chose a particular synaptic partner and how are these choices maintained?” asks Dr. Melanie Samuel. “Answering these questions requires a well-defined and accessible neural circuit and we find the retina is the right model for the job.”

In her lab at Baylor College of Medicine, Samuel investigates neural wiring pathways and molecules involved in helping neurons make the right connections with other neurons for normal neural function.

She and her team also investigate the biological mechanisms responsible for healthy aging of the nervous system, as well as the molecular events that predispose the nervous system to disease and the factors that influence cancer formation. They also test ways to attenuate these changes.

Visit this link to learn more about research conducted at the Samuel lab.

Interested in genes that regulate retinal organization? Read the work published by Samuel and her colleagues in the journal Cell Reports.

Dr. Melanie Samuel

 

Dr. Melanie Samuel is assistant professor of neuroscience and in the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor. She also is part of Baylor’s Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 

 

 

 

 

-By Ana María Rodríguez, Ph.D.

 

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