Developmental changes in the expression of NMDA receptors in the chick brain- NSCI 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Maria Pompeiano

Supervisor's Email: maria.pompeiano [at]

Supervisor's Phone: 514-398-6080

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Psychology

Course number: NSCI 396 (Neuroscience)

Term: Fall 2015-2016

Project start date: Friday, September 4, 2015

Project end date: Monday, December 7, 2015

Project title: Developmental changes in the expression of NMDA receptors in the chick brain

Project description (50-100 words suggested): Glutamate and GABA are the main excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult brain, respectively. In immature neurons, however, GABA has an excitatory action. During development, the GABAergic signalling develops earlier than the glutamatergic one and represents the main source of excitation. This developmental sequence has been studied in the mammalian neocortex and hippocampus and in the chicken spinal cord. In order to establish the timeline of such a developmental sequence in the chick brain, the developmental expression of NMDA receptors will be studied here by using an immunohistochemistry protocol recently developed in the lab. Preliminary work suggests that 12 day old chick embryos express NMDA receptors in several but not all brain areas showing expression at later ages. This project will build on these observations, by studying the brain of embryos of different ages (from 6 to 20 days old) as well as neonatal chicks. The goal here is to establish the start of detectable NMDA receptor expression in different brain areas and to study the changes of their levels of expression during subsequent development.

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): Final grade shall be based on an evaluation of laboratory performance (50%) and a final written report (50%) by the supervisor.

Project status: This project is taken. The professor has no more '396' projects this term.

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