Jeff Lichtman, M.D./Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Northwest Building, Room 347.20
52 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 2138
Tel: 617 496 8943
Fax: 617 496 9590
Visit my lab page here.
I am interested in the way in which experience instantiates itself into the physical structure of neural circuits, that is the physical underpinning of long lasting memory. During mammalian development synaptic connectivity changes dramatically as axons trim many of the synaptic branches and target cells loose many of their synaptic partners while at the same time the subset of connections that remain become stronger. It is possible that these changes underlie the way experience selects from a broad range of synaptic connections a small subset to underlie a long lasting trace of an experience. Our work argues that competition between the neurons that co-innervate the same target cells in development may drive these changes in connectivity. The lab studies circuit formation and rearrangement by visualizing peripheral (motor and autonomic) synaptic circuits directly in living animals. These studies take advantage of transgenic animals in which we express different colored fluorescent proteins in each cell (Brainbow). In addition we have developed automated tools to map neural connections (connectomics) at nanometer resolution using a new method of serial electron microscopy. This latter approach gives of a means of revealing neural circuit motifs throughout the nervous system.
For a complete listing of publications click here.
Last Update: 11/7/2013