Cologne Seminars on Ageing "Molecular mechanisms controlling dopamine neuron biology in health and disease"

  • Date: Nov 29, 2023
  • Time: 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Helen Bateup
  • (USA)
  • Location: MPI for Biology of Ageing
  • Room: Auditorium
  • Host: Anne Schaefer (MPI AGE)
Cologne Seminars on Ageing "Molecular mechanisms controlling dopamine neuron biology in health and disease"

About Dr. Bateup’s talk:
Dopamine neurons represent a small fraction of neurons in the brain, yet they exert widespread influence over a variety of brain systems that control motor function, reward processing, motivation, and learning. Notably, dysfunction of dopamine neurons contributes to several neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. In this talk, I will present our work investigating the molecular pathways that regulate dopaminergic function. In particular, I will discuss our findings showing that mTOR, a central regulator of cell growth and metabolism, is a key modulator of dopamine neuron structure and function. I will present data from mouse models demonstrating that balanced mTOR activity is critical for proper dopaminergic output, as suppression or overactivation of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) has detrimental effects on multiple aspects of dopamine neuron biology including axonal morphology, dopamine release, neuronal excitability, and translational control. In addition, I will discuss our ongoing collaborative work to investigate the pathways that contribute to dopamine neuron degeneration in the context of Parkinson’s disease, using functional genomics approaches in human midbrain organoids.

Scientific background and research interests
Dr. Bateup graduated from The Rockefeller University in 2008 where she completed a PhD thesis with Dr. Paul Greengard. For her doctoral work she generated genetic mouse models to determine the cell type-specific consequences of dopamine signaling on striatal behaviors. From there she joined Dr. Bernardo Sabatini’s lab as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School to study how alterations in mTOR signaling affect synaptic function and excitatory/inhibitory balance in the hippocampus. In 2013 Dr. Bateup started her lab at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology where she is a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. In 2019 Dr. Bateup was named a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator and in 2020 Dr. Bateup was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

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