Research Lecture Series Dr. Takeo Hensch Presents “Lifting Brakes on Visual Cortical Plasticity”

Please join Dr. Takeo Hensch, for presentation entitled, “Lifting Brakes on Visual Cortical Plasticity.” The lecture will take place on March 22, 2016, as part of the Research Lecture Series. All are welcome to attend. One hour of Mass CE credit will be offered.

Please join us for a wine and cheese reception in Conference Room 1 following the lecture.

Abstract: Maturing neural circuits are dramatically shaped by the environment, but this timing varies across brain regions and plasticity declines with age. Focusing on cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying these developmental trajectories, we have identified specific events controlling the onset and closure of such ‘critical periods’. The dynamic balance of emerging excitatory-inhibitory (E/I) circuitry triggers cortical rewiring. Targeting particular GABA circuits by pharmacological or genetic manipulations can either accelerate or delay critical period onset. Instead, plasticity appears to wind down as brake-like molecular factors emerge to stabilize adult networks. Lifting these brakes reopens windows of circuit plasticity, carrying broad implications for understanding the etiology and potential therapeutic strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders or recovery from brain injury in adulthood. Here, we will explore the implications for recovery from amblyopia in adult subjects.

Research Lecture Series

The Research Lecture Series invites recognized vision scientists to present their latest research. These presentations are followed by discussions and informal receptions, allowing the College community an opportunity to become better acquainted with researchers and projects in other laboratories. The Spring 2016 series is focusing on "Amblyopia Research: Basic Mechanism, Diagnosis, and Treatment."