DIY Neuroscience: Controlling Behavior from the Inside
November 7, 14, 21, 7:30pm - 10:15pm
Join us at Genspace for this new offering!
Neuroscience explores the networks of cells that underlie our experience of the world--from the most basic reflex to our conception of the universe. Over a century ago, pioneers in the field first discovered the electrical pulses of the brain. Today, neuroscientists are using optogenetics (a combination of genetics and laser light) to control the activity of neurons themselves. In this three-part class, you will learn how neurons interact in networks to create behavior, and then learn how to control them.
Using the latest biotechnology, you will become familiar with how to manipulate the motor neurons of insects. Pairing genes from algae with fiber optics, you will control the wriggling of fly larvae. Next we will build our own brain recording devices from off-the-shelf electronics, and then use them to analyze how nerves orchestrate movement.
Pia-Kelsey O'Neill is a PhD candidate at the Neurobiology Department of Columbia University. She studies memory and mouse models of schizophrenia by measuring electrical activity in the underlying brain circuits. At the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received her BS in neuroscience, she studied the mechanisms behind fear learning in rats. She has taught topics in neuroscience to graduates and undergraduates in Columbia’s biology program.
Timothy Spellman is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University. While an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, he became interested in the intersection of psychology and biology. He researched the effects of fear on the birth of new neurons (brain cells) in mice. As lab manager in Columbia's Brain Stimulation lab, he studied the effects of magnetic stimulation on brain activity and cognition. He currenty combines tools that allow for targeted manipulation of activity in neurons in order to isolate the roles of interconnected brain regions in cognition and behavior.
When & Where
Genspace is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting culture, innovation and education in molecular biology for both children and adults. We work inside and outside of traditional settings, providing a safe, supportive environment for training and mentoring in biotechnology. In the summer of 2010, we built the first-ever community laboratory, a facility where we design workshops, train students and innovate new technologies. As a membership-based community lab, we offer New Yorkers the opportunity to work on their own projects in a safe, Biosafety level 1 facility.