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Neuroscience Seminar Series

Thursday, November 12, 2020 to Thursday, April 08, 2021

The Neuroscience Seminar Series currently includes 4 talks with speakers from Assumption, Fort Valley State, Wesleyan University, and others.

Thursday, November 12
  • Thursday, November 12, 2020
    4:00pm to 5:00pm

    Sleep Deprivation and Cognitive Decline in Aging Individuals Modeled by Drosophila Melanogaster.

    Sleep Deprivation and Cognitive Decline in Aging Individuals Modeled by Drosophila melanogaster

    Felicia Jefferson

    Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA, USA

    Fort Valley State University’s Neuroscience Biology Engineering and Sleep (NeuBEs) Lab is currently funded to research how sleep deprivation affects cognitive decline in individuals based on gender and age, leading to an array of ailments, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Preliminary results and observations demonstrate that sleep deprivation may indeed play a role in impaired cognitive functioning, and the most severe sleep deprivation cases can contribute to a decline in activity and movement. This project includes analysis on Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruit fly), which led to discoveries in neuroscience and neurodevelopment, including the basis of the circadian rhythm. Findings indicate the Drosophila melanogaster undergo age-associated changes in rhythm strength and sleep consolidation in a manner akin to humans. This was determined through the examination of different strands using a Drosophila Activity Monitor (DAMs) from TriKinetics, which records activity through a series of lights which indicates their movements and activities. Experiments were also conducted using a specialized computer unit (Zantiks MWP) which helped standardize behavioral phenotyping in model organisms, such as larval zebrafish, Drosophila, and Daphnia. The data suggested that most short-sleeping mutant phenotypes in Drosophila melanogaster are characterized by an inability to stay asleep, most likely because of a reduced arousal threshold. The analysis of short-sleeping mutants identified in the large-scale screen suggested that sleep maintenance is more easily genetically perturbed than sleep initiation. Further, it was concluded that these defects in sleep maintenance are usually caused by changes in arousal threshold, mediated by molecules such as dopamine. The promise of using a genetically tractable system such as Drosophila melanogaster to study sleep lies in its ability to facilitate the identification of novel genres, molecules, and pathways involved in sleep and its regulation. The characterization of the molecular lesions in the mutants, identified in this screen and others, will aid in procuring results for future investigation. Funded by NSF Awards #1674717 and 1900572

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  • Thursday, December 03, 2020
    4:00pm to 5:00pm

    Seminar with Nikos Lessios

    Featuring Nikos Lessios, from Assumption College. Participants can join via Zoom (Meeting ID 91435196900)

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  • Thursday, January 14, 2021
    4:00pm to 5:00pm

    Seminar with Janine Dutcher

    Featuring Janine Dutcher

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  • Thursday, April 08, 2021
    4:00pm to 5:00pm

    Seminar with Janice R. Naegele

    Featuring Janice R. Naegele, from Wesleyan University

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