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Michael Fox, PhD
Roles for Extracellular Matrix Molecules in Synaptic Targeting and Synaptic Differentiation
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, Virginia
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016
Dr. Fox will discuss mechanisms that drive synaptic targeting in the developing visual pathways of the eye and brain, including how axons from different classes of retinal ganglion cells and cortical projection neurons target central visual system nuclei. One brain region in which class-specific targeting of retinal and cortical axons is most evident is the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), a thalamic relay nucleus that contains three structurally and functionally distinct subnuclei: the ventral and dorsal LGN and the intergeniculate leaflet. It is hypothesized that regionalized guidance cues direct axonal targeting. Candidate molecules that may act as class-specific targeting cues will be discussed along with their role in vivo and in vitro. Dr. Fox will also discuss trans-synaptic cues that direct synaptic differentiation and the role of collagens in the process.