Avital Rodal (Brandeis)

Avital Rodal (Brandeis)

Butler Seminar Series

Event Date/Location

November 9, 2016 - 12:00 pm
Thomas Laboratory 003

Speaker

  • Photo of Avital Rodal

    Avital Rodal

    Assistant Professor of Biology
    Brandeis University

    Avital Rodal, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department and the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center at Brandeis University. Her research program focuses on how growth signals are mobilized and trafficked within neurons, and how manipulation of these dynamic trafficking events can be used in therapies to combat neurological disease. Dr. Rodal received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Award. She went on to do post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying how developmental and cellular cues regulate neuronal growth and connectivity, where she was the recipient of a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral award and the Charles King Trust of the Medical Foundation award. As a faculty member at Brandeis, she is the recipient of an NIH New Innovator Award, a Pew Scholar Award, an NIH Pathways to Independence Award, and a Basil O'Connor Scholar Award from the March of Dimes.

Topic

Routing and remodeling membranes at synapses

Cells self-organize by continuously remodeling internal membrane compartments that move and sort signaling, structural, and metabolic cargo. Neurons in particular depend heavily on endocytic and endosomal membrane traffic to facilitate the rapid recycling of neurotransmitter-containing synaptic vesicles, to maintain their morphology and compartmentalization, and to sustain and regulate transport and growth factor signaling over long distances Our goal is to understand how membrane-remodeling machinery is harnessed to control the unique membrane structures that are tailored to the physiological functions of neurons. We use a combination of mechanistic biochemistry, in vivo imaging, and Drosophila genetics to unravel the molecular mechanisms by which the architecture of synapses is regulated by networks of interacting membrane remodeling proteins. We are also exploring the connection between neurodegenerative disease phenotypes and these membrane trafficking pathways, by manipulating and visualizing sub-cellular neuronal trafficking events in Drosophila models of ALS and Alzheimer's Disease.

Audience

Free and open to the university community and the public.

Host

Sabine Petry, Department of Molecular Biology