Killam Seminar Series: Molecular Mechanisms Controlling Dopamine Neuron Biology in Health and Disease

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 16:00to17:00
Montreal Neurological Institute de Grandpre Communications Centre, 3801 rue University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, CA

Supported by the generosity of the Killam Trusts, The Neuro's Killam Seminar Series invites outstanding guest speakers whose research is of interest to the scientific community at the MNI and McGill University.

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Helen Bateup, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkely, USA

Host: j-francois.poulin [at] mcgill.ca (Jean-François Poulin)

Abstract: Dopamine neurons represent a small fraction of neurons in the brain, yet they exert widespread influence over a variety of brain systems that control motor function, reward, motivation, and learning. Recent work from our lab and others has uncovered considerable diversity within the dopaminergic system, which likely underlies its pleotropic functions. Importantly, dysfunction of different classes of dopamine neurons contribute to neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. In this talk, I will present our work investigating the molecular pathways that regulate dopaminergic function. In particular, I will discuss our findings showing that mTOR, a central regulator of cell growth and metabolism, is a key modulator of dopamine neuron structure and function. I will present data from mouse models showing that balanced mTOR activity is critical for proper dopaminergic output, as suppression or overactivation of mTOR has detrimental effects on multiple aspects of dopamine neuron biology. In addition, I will discuss our ongoing collaborative work to investigate the pathways that contribute to dopamine neuron degeneration in the context of Parkinson’s disease, using functional genomics approaches in human midbrain organoids.

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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