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Genetic dissection of cerebellar function by generating mice with disease-like phenotypes

January 5, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Roy Sillitoe, hosted by Court Hull

Neurobiology welcomes Roy Sillitoe, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. Please contact d.shipman@duke.edu for connection details.Abstract: The cerebellum is critical for motor function. Accordingly, the canonical cerebellar circuit, with the Purkinje cell located at its center, plays a role in ataxia, dystonia, and tremor. The question that arises is how does the same circuit contribute to different diseases? This is a fundamental question that applies not only to the cerebellum but also to other brain circuits and their respective diseases. To address this problem, we postulated that in each motor disease circuit behavior might be determined by how neuronal communication is altered. We therefore devised a genetic toolkit to selectively block chemical communication at each major type of cerebellar synapse. Our current efforts are aimed at testing the structural, functional, and behavioral consequences of doing so. Moreover, using these different mouse models, we are testing if cerebellar deep brain stimulation might be an effective therapeutic strategy for repairing circuits in motor and even non-motor diseases.