Fitness landscape (FL) is a common metaphoric description of genotype-phenotype relationship. However its precise nature is not known. Dr. Shakhnovich will present his lab's theoretical and experimental efforts to outline FL of viruses and bacteria in terms of biophysical properties of their proteins such as thermodynamic stability, catalytic activity and intracellular abundances as well as functional and non-functional interactions with other proteins.
One of the most fundamental properties of the brain is its ability to adapt rapidly to environmental changes. This is achieved mainly by changes in the synaptic connectivity between individual nerve cells. Synapses can be modulated in their these, both from a cellular perspective and from a systems perspective, in which we study how functional and structural changes in synaptic connections support experience-dependent plasticity and learning.
Glutamate transporters are responsible for clearance of the neurotransmitter glutamate from the synaptic cleft following rounds of neurotransmission. They maintain steep concentration gradients of glutamate by coupling its uptake to symport of sodium ions and protons and to antiport of potassium ions. Dr. Boudker's lab has been investigating the molecular mechanism of this family of transporters.
Dr. Tycko will describe the highlights of his lab’s studies of amyloid structures, beginning with investigations of β-sheet organization in fibrils formed in vitro and culminating in structural studies of fibrils derived from AD brain tissue.
The regulation of information flow by local inhibitory microcircuits has a fundamental role in shaping animal behavior. In the mammalian spinal cord GABAergic inhibitory interneurons serve key functions in sensory-motor transformation.
Dr. Hubbell's group is particularly interested in therapeutic vaccination in cancer, and they have determined that the tumor-draining lymph node is a particularly opportune lymphoid target for cancer vaccination.