MBGE SEMINAR by Ege T. Kavalalý

Time: 14:30
Location: SCI 103

Speaker          :
Ege T. Kavalalý, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt Univesity

Title                : Unconventional Mechanisms for Neurotransmission and Neuronal Signaling  

Date                : May 17, 2019, Friday
Time               : 14:30   
Cookie & Tea: 14:15 SCI 103 
Place               : SCI 103  

Abstract         :

Presynaptic action potential firing and subsequent evoked neurotransmitter release is a major driver for neuronal function. However, neurons can maintain synaptic communication as well as signalling under resting conditions independently of activity via spontaneous neurotransmitter release. Spontaneous neurotransmission can elicit neuronal signalling that is largely independent of the biochemical pathways associated with action potential-evoked neuronal signal transduction. In this presentation I will present our recent findings on the mechanisms that underlie spontaneous neurotransmission and how this resting form of neurotransmitter release impacts neuronal signal transduction and plasticity.



Short Bio:

As an undergraduate Dr. Kavalali studied Electrical Engineering at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1995, he received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University, where he worked with Dr. Mark Plummer. In 1999, he completed his postdoctoral studies with Dr. Richard W. Tsien in Stanford University at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. The same year, Dr. Kavalali joined the faculty at the Center for Basic Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas led by Dr. Thomas C. Südhof. After 19 years of service at UT Southwestern, in September 2018, Dr. Kavalali joined the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University as a Professor and Vice Chair for Research.

Dr. Kavalali studies mechanisms of neurotransmission and synaptic signaling in the central nervous system using electrical and optical recording techniques as well as molecular tools. His group focuses on the molecular basis and functional consequences of heterogeneity among synaptic vesicle recycling pathways present within individual synapses. In particular, his work has uncovered the role and underlying mechanisms of spontaneous neurotransmitter release that holds it apart mechanistically and functionally from evoked neurotransmission. These studies gave rise to the hypothesis that spontaneous neurotransmission acts as an autonomous neuronal signaling pathway independent of action potential-evoked synaptic transmission. In addition, Dr. Kavalali and colleagues have identified spontaneous neurotransmission-dependent signal transduction mechanisms that are required to trigger rapid antidepressant action.