Investigating Molecular Mechanisms that Direct Post-Synaptic Organization in Neurons - NSCI 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Timothy Kennedy

Supervisor's Email: timothy.kennedy [at]

Supervisor's Phone: (514) 398-7136

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Anatomy and Cell Biology; Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery

Course number: NSCI 396 (Neuroscience)

Term: Winter 2013-2014

Project start date: Monday, January 6, 2014

Project end date: Friday, April 11, 2014

Project title: Investigating Molecular Mechanisms that Direct Post-Synaptic Organization in Neurons

Project description (50-100 words suggested): Neurons in the developing brain extend axons and dendrites that connect at synapses to form functional neural circuits. During synaptogenesis, contact between the axonal and dendritic membranes triggers the formation of pre- and post-synaptic specializations. Recent studies have shown that protein coated polystyrene beads have the capacity to induce synaptic differentiation, with specific protein coatings selectively inducing pre- or post-synaptic specializations. The student's project will use this highly reduced system, protein coated beads and immunoflorescent microscopy to investigate the recruitment of MAGUK family adaptor proteins to newly formed post-synaptic specializations in cultured primary mammalian neurons.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): 50% lab, 50% report

Project status: This project is taken; however students may contact the professor to discuss other possible '396' projects this term.

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves: Animal subjects; Biohazardous substances; Handling chemicals.