August 01, 2013

The cell's fusion machinery (Part 1) : Edwin Chapman


This month, in our first two-part episode, we talk about vesicle fusion with Dr. Edwin Chapman, a Howard Hughes investigator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Vesicles are small balloons within the cell that can carry a variety of material ranging from proteins to cellular waste. They are also important message-delivery machines that allow neurons to communicate with each other. Through an extremely fast and complicated process known as synaptic vesicle exocytosis, vesicles containing neurotransmitters fuse with the neuron's membrane, releasing packets of neurotransmitter that will bind to the receptors on a neighboring neuron. This process is the basis of nearly all neuron-to-neuron communication and, consequently, underlies our thoughts and behavior. Using different techniques, Dr. Chapman hopes to provide a better understanding of the structure, function, and dynamics of this poorly understood but fundamental process.

More on the Chapman Lab's research
More information on vesicle exocytosis

Producer: Osama Ahmed, Samantha Ancona Esselmann

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