Rose B. Creed - Towards a mechanistic understanding of circuit dysfunction underlying aberrant eye movements in movement disorders

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Tuesday, May 2, 2023
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11:00am to 12:00pm PDT
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Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
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Towards a mechanistic understanding of circuit dysfunction underlying aberrant eye movements in movement disorders


The biggest roadblock in disease-modifying therapeutics for many neuropsychiatric diseases is an incomplete understanding of how circuit dysfunction gives rise to clinical symptoms. Two movement disorders, Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) present with similar clinical features such as bradykinesia (slowed movements) and impaired eye movements (gaze palsy). Intriguingly, medications alleviate some symptoms in PD, but rarely in PSP. This observation suggests aberrant neural activity shapes disease symptoms, but via distinct circuit mechanisms. Over the last 40 years, extensive work in non-human primate and rodent models of PD has shown that bradykinesia relates to dysfunction within the basal ganglia, a set of subcortical nuclei involved in movement. More specifically, loss of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) dopamine neurons and their projections to the striatum, the main input nucleus of the basal ganglia, results in an imbalance in basal ganglia activity. In parallel, the role of the basal ganglia and superior colliculus in normal saccade generation has been studied extensively in non-human primates. However, the detailed relationship between neural activity, movement kinematics, and disease is unclear. Moreover, the physiological basis of gaze palsy has not been explored in PD or PSP models. We have leveraged our detailed and quantitative understanding of eye movement control systems to investigate the relationship of basal ganglia activity to saccadic eye movements in healthy and mouse models of PD and PSP. Our aim is to determine whether similar physiological mechanisms shape mouse eye movements, and how disease processes such as neurodegeneration or protein pathology, as seen in PD and PSP, disrupt these critical motor circuits.

Rose B. Creed, University of California - San Francisco

Hosted by - Monique Mendes

About the BELONG Seminar Series

The BELONG seminar series features scientific talks from exceptional postdocs in the neurosciences who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and/or Person of Color. Sponsored by the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Equity and Justice.

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In-person attendance is strongly encouraged, but if you are not able to join us in Gunn Rotunda, you may view the talk via Zoom: Password: 960189