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26. Hermann Staudinger Lecture with Nobel Laureate Thomas C. Südhof

Deconstructing the Molecular Logic of Neural Circuits: Cell-Adhesion Molecules and Beyond
When Dec 17, 2018
from 04:15 PM to 05:45 PM
Where Albertstraße 17, Anatomy Lecture Hall
Contact Name
Attendees Öffentlich / Open to public
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Thomas Südhof was born in Göttingen, Germany, in 1955. After studies in Aachen, at Harvard University, and at the University of Göttingen, he received his Ph.D. in 1982 from Göttingen's Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry for his work on the biophysical structure of secretory granules. From 1983-1986, Südhof was trained as a postdoctoral fellow at University of Texas Southwestern, initially focusing on the molecular characterization of synaptic transmission.

Increasingly turning his attention to the analysis of synapse formation and specification, he has taken a particular interest in the processes that mediate the initial assembly of synapses, regulate their maintenance and elimination, and determine their properties. In 2008, Thomas Südhof joined Stanford University’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, where he has set up the Südhof Laboratory.

Thomas Südhof was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2013 together with James Rothman and Randy Schekman "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells."


Abstract for the Hermann Staudinger lecture "Deconstructing the Molecular Logic of Neural Circuits: Cell-Adhesion Molecules and Beyond"

Neural circuits process information by transmitting and computing signals at synapses, and thus critically depend on the number and location of synapses between the neurons that form the circuit, and on the properties of these synapses. We hypothesize that the number, location, and properties of synapses are determined by interactions between pre- and postsynaptic cell-surface recognition molecules and/or signaling molecules, and we refer to the rules by which these molecules construct circuits as the molecular logic of neural circuits.

In his presentation, Thomas Südhof will describe his work on testing the hypotheses inherent in this conceptual framework, focusing on families of synaptic cell-adhesion molecules such as neurexins and latrophilins. New studies have already led to surprising conclusions about how neural circuits are organized, and provide a fascinating perspective for future work.