Cori Bargmann and the Brain Initiative

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Cori Bargmann, PhD

You could hear a pin drop. Dr. Cori Bargmann was showing us the relationships between genes, experience, the nervous system and behavior in a tiny little worm with just 302 neurons (the nematode C. elegans). We were attending a Women’s Forum breakfast and the guest speaker was Dr. Bargmann, one of the nation’s most respected neuroscientists. Among her many stellar accomplishments, she is the co-head of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative.

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The nematode C. elegans

Cori focused on these key questions: Is there a secret to curing brain disorders? How do genes, the brain, and the environment interact to generate an individual’s unique behaviors?

Bargmann explained that ability to manipulate the activity of individual genes and neurons in C. elegans makes it possible to determine how neural circuits develop and function. Dr. Bargmann’s laboratory characterizes genes and neural pathways that allow the nervous system to generate flexible behaviors. This tiny worm’s most complex behaviors occur in response to smell, and these are at the heart of the Bargmann lab’s research.

Developments such as these will soon be headline news and involve other countries connected to this project. Keep your eye on Dr. Bargmann’s work: it may very soon have profound effects on our lives and the lives of those around us.

 

photo of Dr. Cori Bargmann by John Abbott http://www.johnabbottphoto.com 

 

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Categories: Innovation

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