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Séminaire impromptu - Henrique Von GersdorffUltra-short synaptic delays at a mature CNS synapse.

Abstract :

 One major focus of our research has been the calyx of Held synapse, a pivotal synapse of the auditory system that is involved in the circuitry that calculates the location of sound sources in all mammalian species.

Our studies of this synapse have concentrated on investigating the fundamental mechanisms of short-term synaptic plasticity, on the mechanisms of spike timing precision during postnatal development, and on factors that determine the size of the readily releasable pool of vesicles, release probability, and single vesicle release (or quantal size). Our research papers have revealed new insights into the specialized properties that allow calyx-type synapses of the auditory system to fire at high frequencies. I will present a combination of EM tomography data, in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological studies of the calyx of Held.

By using whole cell and cell attached recordings, I will show by membrane capacitance the dependence on presynaptic calcium currents of the exocytosis and endocytosis of synaptic vesicles during development.

Selected publications

Cho S, von Gersdorff H. Proton-mediated block of Ca2+ channels during multivesicular release regulates short-term plasticity at an auditory hair cell synapse. J. of Neuroscience 34:15877-87, 2014.

Li GL,Cho, S., von Gersdorff, H. Phase-locking precision is enhanced by multiquantal release at an auditory hair cell ribbon synapse. Neuron 83:1404-1417, 2014.

Kim, J.H., Renden, R., and von Gersdorff, H. Dysmyelination of auditory afferent axons increases the jitter of action potential timing during high-frequency firing. J. of Neuroscience 33:9402-9407, 2013. PMCID: PMC3719047

Scientific focus :

Henrique von Gersdorff earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Stony Brook University in New York. He received his B.S. in Physics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a research scientist in high-energy physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and had postdoctoral fellowships at Stony Brook University and the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Department of Membrane Biophysics, Göttingen. In 1998 he was appointed assistant scientist in the Vollum Institute and was promoted to scientist in 2004 and senior scientist in 2009. vonGersdorff also holds a faculty appointment in the Physiology and Pharmacology department of OHSU.