School of Humanities and Sciences

Showing 1-10 of 11 Results

  • Nathan McDonald

    Nathan McDonald

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Biology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am interested in the fundamental cell biology of neurons. In particular, I study how neuronal synapses are formed and function. Synapses are specialized intercellular junctions that facilitate rapid communication between neurons, and thus form the basis of neural circuits and nervous system function.

    Within a synapse, synaptic vesicles containing neurotransmitters are released at a specific region termed the active zone. The active zone is composed of a variety of molecules that coordinate the tethering and priming of synaptic vesicles, the recruitment of ion channels to respond to action potentials, and the stabilization of the synapse through transmembrane connections to a postsynaptic cell.

    A wide range of transmembrane proteins are capable of initiating synapse formation during development and provide specificity for targeting the proper postsynaptic cell, including Neurexins/Neuroligins, LRRTMs, DIPs/DPRs, and many Ig domain proteins. However, in all synapses, these molecules must signal to build a common active zone core. I am studying how the conserved active zone core assembles downstream of this complexity, a fundamental unresolved question in developmental neurobiology.

    To study this problem, I use the simple and stereotyped nervous system of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. I use fluorescent imaging of endogenous proteins at single neuron and single synapse resolution, as well as genetic and biochemical methods.

  • Andressa Monteiro Venturini

    Andressa Monteiro Venturini

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Biology

    BioAndressa M. Venturini has a bachelor’s and licentiate’s degrees in biological science from the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ/USP). Venturini received her doctorate degree in science in 2019 from the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture of the University of São Paulo (CENA/USP) in Brazil, having previously received a master’s degree in science from the same institution in 2014. In 2021, her thesis received the USP Outstanding Thesis Award - 10th Edition in the area of Environmental Sustainability. She also spent a period abroad at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and, during her Ph.D., at the University of Oregon (UO). Venturini has previously worked at the Paulista University (UNIP) and as a postdoc at CENA/USP. She has experience in Soil Microbial Ecology, Molecular Biology, and Bioinformatics. Her research is focused on the microbial communities of tropical soils, their role in biogeochemical cycles, and how they are being impacted by land-use and climate change. During the 2021-22 academic year, Venturini was a Fung Global Fellow Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University.