Grant: $204,075 - Department of Health and Human Services - May. 15, 2009
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Award Description: The principal purpose of this project is to discover the biological changes that take place as a result of learning. We plan to characterize the changes that take place in identified neurons in the deep cerebellar nuclei as a function of classical conditioning of the rat eye blink response.
Project Description: During the quarter just ending we have made significant progress in determining the time course and viability of brain tissue after injections of PRV-152 into the eyelid. Recordings from slices of deep cerebellar nuclei containing PRV-152 fluorescent cells have confirmed cell viability although there appears to be an inverse relationship between strength of fluorescence and cell membrane properties suggesting that viral infection compromises cell integrity and eventually is fatal to the cell. Progress is also being made in characterizing the nature of the neurotransmitters in PRV-152 fluorescent cells in the deep cerebellar nuclei. To help determine the biological basis of learning and memory, our research seeks to understand how plasticity in the cerebellum mediates eyeblink conditioning. To pursue this goal, we have recorded in vitro learning-specific synaptic and membrane changes in Purkinje cells of the rabbit cerebellar cortex following eyelid conditioning. Limitations to this approach are 1)a number of different cerebellar lobules are involved in eyelid conditioning; and 2)it is not possible to confirm whether cells in which changes are detected were involved in the behavior. Potential solutions include: 1)all cerebellar lobules project to deep cerebellar nuclei and there is growing evidence that changes in neural activity, synapse number and gene expression occur within the anterior interpositus nucleus as a result of eyeblink conditioning; and 2) there are retrograde neuronal track tracing techniques able to identify deep cerebellar neurons involved in the eyeblink. To overcome all of these limitations, we are developing a rat pup cerebellar slice preparation in which we can visualize and record from eyeblink-related neurons in the anterior interpositus following injection of a fluorescent retrograde tracer into the eyelid.
Jobs Summary: Jobs Retained: 1 Research Assistant - 7% effort (.07 FTE), 1 Professor - 13% effort (.13 FTE), 1 Research Associate - 79% effort (.79 FTE) and 1 Graduate Assistant - 100% effort (.50 FTE). Jobs Created: 0 (Total jobs reported: 2)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on May. 15, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.