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2020 Project Proposal

Measuring glutamate recycling in astrocytes with a miniature fluorescent microscope

Lori Newman (Psychological Science)

In the field of neuroscience, some measure of activity in the brain is required for unraveling complex relationships between the brain and behavior. While neurons have clear electrical signals with activity that can be measured, astrocytes do not.  Due to this difference, the study of the role of astrocytes in behavior in real time has been lacking.  This past semester we have begun using miniscopes, or miniature microscopes, to visualize glutamate uptake into astrocytes by inserting fluorescent glutamate sensors into astrocytes in rats, a novel technique as previous published research has focused on miniscope use in mice (Resendez et al., 2016).  Glutamate is the major excitatory transmitter in the brain and recycling glutamate through the astrocytes promotes distinct and accurate neurotransmission in the brain.  The purpose of this URSI project is to continue to assess how these glutamate recycling dynamics change in vivo with cognition. Students interested in neuroscience, psychology, engineering, physics, mathematics or computer science are encouraged to apply.

Experience working with animal models is preferred.

How should students express interest in this project?
Please clearly describe in your application any experiences that you feel are relevant to the project. You do not need to contact me prior to submitting an application. I will reach out to students for interviews after the applications are in.

This is a 10 week project running from May 27-July 31