Neurons are structurally and functionally polarized cells. A hallmark of their polarized structure is the thin and long axon, which can extend at micrometer diameters for up to a meter in humans. Active transport of materials such as proteins and organelles within the axon, a process referred to as axonal transport, is essential to the differentiation, survival, and function of neurons. Axonal transport defects have been strongly implicated in many human neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer.s disease. In this presentation I will introduce recent work of my lab on integrating engineering, computational, biophysical, and cell biological methods to understand how axonal transport is regulated to ensure that the right cargo is delivered to the right destination at the right time. I will start with a brief overview of the image-based computational analysis methods we developed for characterizing spatiotemporal dynamics of axonal transport. I will then focus on presenting results of applying these methods to analyze the regulatory mechanisms axonal transport. Lastly, I will briefly introduce some ongoing work on developing techniques for high-throughput analysis and active control of axonal transport.
About the Speaker.