Wednesday April 16, 2003
Dept. Neurobiology & Anatomy University of Utah
Abstract: The zebrafish is an excellent model organism for studying the development of the nervous system because of its genetics and its transparent embryos. These allow us to analyze how gene functions affect neural connections. The visual projection--the connection from the eye to the brain--is particularly accessible for dye labeling and imaging. This projection is highly stereotyped, and carries a map of visual space from the retina to its primary target, the optic tectum. We are using genetics and imaging to elucidate the axon guidance signals and receptors that guide the retinal axons (nerve fibers) to their targets. We have a large number of genetic mutants that cause defects in this connection, and study these defects by using confocal microscopy to image the axons in both fixed and live embryos. I will give a brief overview of developmental neurobiology and confocal microscopy, followed by a sampling of what we have learned about how retinal axons find their way through the brain.
For more information contact J. Keener, 1-6089