Roy Sillitoe, Ph.D., of Baylor College of Medicine will present a lecture entitled: Synaptic origins of cerebellar motor diseases.
Abstract: The cerebellum is critical for motor function. Accordingly, the canonical cerebellar circuit, with the Purkinje cell located at its center, plays a role in ataxia, dystonia, and tremor. The question that arises is how does the same circuit contribute to different diseases? This is a fundamental question that applies not only to the cerebellum but also to other brain circuits and their respective diseases. To address this problem, we postulated that in each motor disease circuit behavior might be determined by how neuronal communication is altered. We therefore devised a genetic toolkit to selectively block chemical communication at each major type of cerebellar synapse. Our current efforts are aimed at testing the structural, functional, and behavioral consequences of doing so. Moreover, using these different mouse models, we are testing if cerebellar deep brain stimulation might be an effective therapeutic strategy for repairing circuits in motor and even non-motor diseases..