2006–2007-Student-invited Seminar Series - Carnegie Mellon University

2006–2007 Speakers

Elaine Fuchs

Elaine Fuchs

HHMI Investigator
Dickson Prize in Medicine
The Rockefeller University
Website at The Rockefeller University
HHMI Investigator Website

In the Fuchs' laboratory, we are trying to understand how the multipotent stem cells of mammalian skin give rise to the epidermis and hair follicles. We study how skin epithelial cells respond to various external cues to coordinate changes in transcription, cell polarity, adhesion and cytoskeletal dynamics. Elucidating the normal process of tissue development is an important first step in understanding how these processes go awry in genetic skin diseases, including cancers. We are aided in our ability to grow human and mouse epidermal cells (keratinocytes) in the laboratory, and employ transgenic and knockout technologies in mice. In our research approaches, we utilize a broad range of techniques encompassing cell, molecular and developmental biology.

Sascha du Lac

Sascha du Lac

HHMI Investigator
UCSD
Salk Institute
HHMI Investigator Website
Du Lac has designed a bold and daring research plan to understand the cellular and molecular changes that underpin a specific type of learning: how the brain learns to stabilize an image on the retina and compensate for head movement. This is called the vestibular-ocular reflex or VOR, and it's what enables the gymnast to nail that triple somersault while maintaining a perfect sense of where the ground is in relation to her body. In studies of mice, du Lac is analyzing how "motor memories" are maintained in the neural circuitry that subserves the VOR. Her studies have concentrated on cells called flocculus target neurons (FTNs), which are located in the brainstem and lie downstream of the output cells of the cerebellum, called Purkinje cells. How and why FTNs are critical in maintaining motor memories have yet to be determined.