Arjun Krishnaswamy, PhD
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science
Department of Physiology and CIS
Canada Research Chair Tier 2
Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience
McGill University, Montréal, Canada
I joined the Department of Physiology at McGill University in 2017 after finsihing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University under the supervision of Dr. Joshua Sanes. My laboratory has two research themes: 1) to understand the molecular mechanisms that establish specific wiring patterns among neurons; and 2) to understand how specific wiring patterns endow circuits with computational abilities. We study this phenomenon by observing the assembly and function of neural circuits the retina and the retinorecipient visual thalamus (LGN). Our goal is draw links among wiring genes, wiring patterns, and circuit function and leverage these links to develop a better understanding of how circuits miswire in disease conditions, such as blindness, and potentially, develop interventions that could restore normal function.
Title: Molecular recognition and the assembly of feature selective retinal circuits
Nearly 50 different mouse retinal ganglion cell (RGC) types sample the visual scene for distinct features. RGC feature selectivity arises from their synapses with a specific subset of amacrine (AC) and bipolar cell (BC) types, but how RGC dendrites arborize and collect input from these specific subsets remains poorly understood. In this talk, I will present our current work on this phenomenon which employs two-photon imaging and optogenetics, electrophysiology, and type-specific genetic labelling. We have discovered that recognition molecules from the immunoglobulin (IgSF) and Cadherin (Cdh) superfamilies play distinct roles in specifying RGC connections with ACs and BCs, which suggests members of these two families could act as an adhesive blueprint for retinal circuit connectivity.