The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Marios Chatzigeorgiou

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Ciona intestinalis, a new model organism for neurobiological studies

Marios Chatzigeorgiou
Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, University of Bergen

Understanding the mechanisms by which nervous systems develop and operate in order to collect information from the external world and generate a coordinated behavioural output is one of the most exciting problems in biological research.

Traditional model organisms have contributed a great deal in tackling this problem. However, they present only a small fraction of the total biological diversity. With the recent advances in sequencing technologies and genome engineering, non-model organisms have started to enter the scene of modern neurobiology.

Our lab is working in the direction of establishing Ciona intestinalis, an early chordate, as a powerful experimental system for the study of cell types, neural circuits and behaviour. 

In my talk I will describe our recent efforts to:

1. Provide a quantitative description of larval behaviour.

2. Perform whole-brain and individual circuit calcium imaging.

3. Identify conserved cell types for which we wish to trace their evolution in the chordate lineage.

Finally, I will discuss some of the current challenges and future opportunities for translating methodologies and findings from non-model systems to model organisms and vice versa.

Chairperson: Clive R. Bramham <clive.bramham@uib.no>, Department of Biomedicine