Title: Molecular understanding of neuronal morphogenesis and polarization in vivo

  Speaker: Prof. Kang Shen,Stanford University

  Time:January 8, 2024, 1:00-2:30 pm

  Venue:Youcai Deng Lecture Hall

  Host: Prof. Yulong Li

  Postdoc Host: Jiesi Feng


  Neural morphogenesis is essential for the wiring of the nervous system. During development of the worm, fly, and mammals, axon and dendrite exhibit stochastic growth and retraction but eventually establish stereotyped arbor shape.  How ligand-receptor interaction underlies this stochastic determinism is not understood. We used the C. elegans PVD neuron as a model system to study how genes and proteins give rise to both random growth and stereotyped shape. These studies have also shed light on how neurons become polarized through neuronal specific microtubule organization and establish axon initial segments.  These studies demonstrate the power of using invertebrate systems to study in vivo neuronal cell biology.


  Dr. Kang Shen studies fundamental cell biology questions in the nervous system. These questions include how neurons form their synaptic connections by choosing specific synaptic partners, at particular subcellular locations, with appropriate size and density; how dendrites aquire their shape; and how neurons achieve polarized microtubule organization. His lab takes advantage of the simple neural circuits and genetic tools of C. elegans to study these questions in vivo.

  Dr. Shen's laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of neural circuit assembly. They are studying a number of key cell biological questions during the development and maintenance of neural circuits. Although they have traditionally focused on mechanisms of synaptic specificity and synapse assembly , their recent work has also started to shed light on the mechanisms of axonal transport , neuronal cytoskeletal polarity, and dendrite branching .