Life Sciences Seminar: Programming and reprogramming the cerebral cortex
Life Sciences Seminar
Programming and reprogramming the cerebral cortex
Dr. Mohammed A. Mostajo-Radji
Assistant Research Scientist
UCSC Genomics Institute
University of California Santa Cruz
Neurons of the mammalian central nervous system are thought to remain unchanged for the lifetime of the organism. I will present my work in understanding the fate acquisition and plasticity of cortical neurons using two distinct neuronal subtypes.
Neurons of the mammalian central nervous system are classical examples of terminally differentiated cell types: once generated they become postmitotic and their class-specific identity is thought to remain unchanged for the lifetime of the organism. In this seminar, I will present my work in understanding the fate acquisition and plasticity of cortical neurons using two distinct neuronal subtypes. First, I will show how competing genetic programs underlie the generation of excitatory projection neurons of the cerebral cortex. Moreover, I will use these programs to show that postmitotic neurons can indeed be reprogrammed in vivo to a new identity and how reprogrammed neurons can instruct differential wiring of afferent inhibitory interneurons. Finally, I will use chimeric transplantation of mouse inhibitory interneurons into developing human brain models to understand the impact of the microenvironment in programming and reprogramming neuronal identity.
Dr. Mostajo-Radji is an Assistant Research Scientist at the UCSC Genomics Institute. After completing his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at RIT (2011) he did his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and his postdoctoral training in Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California San Francisco. His scientific interest is in understanding the mechanisms of development and fate plasticity of neurons of the cerebral cortex. Dr. Mostajo-Radji is also interested in STEM education and science diplomacy. He is the founder of Clubes de Ciencia Bolivia (Science Clubs Bolivia), a nonprofit STEM education organization that has been considered one of the largest science diplomacy projects between the United States and Bolivia. He has been the plenipotentiary and extraordinary science, technology and innovation ambassador of Bolivia to International Organizations and Silicon Valley, which makes him the first Latin American science diplomat to reach the highest level of diplomatic service. In 2020, Dr. Mostajo-Radji led the Bolivian COVID-19 strategic response team and his work in controlling the pandemic was highlighted by Nature magazine. Dr. Mostajo-Radji holds an honorary doctorate from Jose Ballivian University, the Franz Tamayo medal awarded by the Bolivian senate, he was selected as one of the Latinos 30 under 30 by el Mundo Boston and one of the 25 drivers of a new economy. El Deber newspaper selected him as person of the year. In 2021, he was elected as a member of the Global Young Academy.
Beginners, undergraduates, graduates. Those with interest in the topic.
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When and Where
Open to the Public