Friday Evening Lecture Series – Forbes Lecture – Joseph Fetcho, Cornell University – “Transparent Vertebrates Offer a Direct View of the Nervous System in Action”

Date(s) - 07/18/2014
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lillie Auditorium

Friday Evening Lecture SeriesForbes Lecture – “Transparent Vertebrates Offer a Direct View of the Nervous System in Action”
Joseph Fetcho, Cornell University
July 18, 2014, 8:00 PM, Lillie Auditorium

 Introduction by Ed McCleskey, Senior Scientific Officer, HHMI

Joseph FetchoLecture Abstract:
Nervous systems are remarkably dynamic. Neuronal activity in the brain and spinal cord change constantly on the time scale of milliseconds to produce the many behaviors needed to survive and reproduce.  Nerve cells also rapidly modify their structure as they form new synaptic connections or attempt to restore function after injury.  One of the great challenges in neuroscience is to monitor the dynamics of these events widely in the nervous system with minimal disruption. The combination of genetics, modern imaging technologies, and transparent larval zebrafish have allowed unprecedented access to the dynamics of structure and function everywhere in the brain and spinal cord of an intact, living vertebrate.  This lecture will focus on the power and beauty of this model for understanding the production of behavior by the nervous system.

Dr. Joseph Fetcho is a professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. He is a neurobiologist whose work has focused on revealing principles that underlie how neuronal networks are organized to produce movements.

Dr. Fetcho grew up in Bethlehem, PA, and attended Lehigh University. He received a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Michigan in 1985. He did his post doctorate at SUNY Buffalo, where he researched the central control of motoneurons in vertebrates. In 1990, Dr. Fetcho accepted a faculty position at SUNY Stonybrook, where he taught until he moved to Cornell University in 2004. He is currently using zebrafish to develop a basic set of principles on the organization of function of neurons and to study nerve regeneration.

Dr. Fetcho was a Javits Neuroscience Investigator from 2002 to 2009. He has won the McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award (2009), the National Institutes of Health’s Directors Pioneer Award (2009), and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Neurophysiology, the Journal of Neuroscience, and Frontiers in Neural Circuits.

About the Forbes Lectures:
Since 1959, the special two-part Forbes Lecture has been supported by The Grass Foundation, a private foundation that supports research and education in neuroscience. The lectures are given in honor of pioneering neurobiologist Alexander Forbes. Traditionally, the Forbes lecturer also spends several weeks at the MBL, working alongside the Grass Fellowship Program.


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