SINTN Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation & Translational Neurosciences

The Stanford Neurosciences Institute
proudly announces a research seminar by

Melissa Rolls

"Can dendrite injury trigger regeneration, or is death the only option?"

October 11th, 2012 - 4:30 - Clark Auditorium

Melissa Rolls PhD
Assistant Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Penn State

Website: Rolls lab Web Site

A conversation with Melissa Rolls with the Stanford group Neuwrite West can be streamed or downloaded here: Rolls conversation


My lab uses a simple and tractable model system to study neuronal responses to injury. Using Drosophila larvae, we can perform controlled injuries to single neurons and visualize intracellular events that are triggered as the cells respond. We are exploring cellular mechanisms of axon regeneration, as well as axon and dendrite degeneration. Recently, we have begun to explore a new area: dendrite regeneration. Dendrites are very susceptible to damage during excitotoxic events including stroke and traumatic brain injury. The only known outcomes of dendrite damage are immediate recovery after short-term stress, or death after longer-term insults. We have asked whether dendrite regeneration is a previously unexplored strategy for surviving dendrite damage. We find that both larval and adult neurons can regenerate dendrites after complete removal. Moreover, dendrite regeneration does not rely on the conserved DLK pathway required for axon regeneration. We propose that neurons have two completely independent regeneration pathways, one for axons and one for dendrites.

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