Daniel Colón-Ramos

ramos1Who am I?

I am an Associate Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine. Along with my affiliation with the MBL, I am also affiliated to the Instituto de Neurobiología de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

What do I do?

My laboratory is interested in the cell biology of the synapse. Synapses, which are points of cellular communication between neurons, were first described by Santiago Ramón y Cajal as “protoplasmic kisses that appear to constitute the final ecstasy of an epic love story.” Who would not want to work on that?!

When two different neurons, navigating the complex morass of the nervous system, encounter each other and form a synapse, they connect and transmit information critical for animal behaviors. My lab examines how these stories unfold and the biological mechanisms cells use to find each other. How are synapses formed during development, maintained during growth, and modified during learning? You can read more about our research at http://medicine.yale.edu/lab/colon_ramos/.

Why do I come to the MBL?

Scientists inhabit certain structures—departments, institutions, fields—that were created to facilitate interactions among like-minded colleagues. But those structures also limit interactions with peers from other institutions and other fields. MBL is unique in the scientific ecosystem in that it is a convening place that transcends institutional or even thematic barriers to catalyze scientific and educational interactions that would otherwise be hard to promote. I come to MBL every summer to push myself outside my comfort zone and become a student again, extending the horizons of what is possible in my lab by establishing new collaborations and research opportunities.

What do I do/work on at the MBL?
I have two roles at the MBL. For the past three years, I have been a faculty instructor at the Neural Systems and Behavior course, where I have had the opportunity to interact with students from throughout the world, lecture about the C. elegans nervous system and pioneer ways of imaging and manipulating synapses in behaving animals. In this role, I have also lectured in other courses, such as SPINES. For the past five years, I have also collaborated with MBL Fellows Hari Shroff (NIH) and Patrick La Rivière (University of Chicago) in creating new imaging paradigms that enable unprecedented visualization of nervous system developmental dynamics. The ability to convene during the summer in a joint lab with colleagues form different institutions and disciplines has been enabling to push boundaries and open new opportunities of inquiry.

More information:

See Daniel’s website: http://medicine.yale.edu/lab/colon_ramos/