IRCM Activities
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Events to come

Apr 04, 2022
From 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Location QCCanada

Simon Chen

Simon Chen

Dissecting neural circuits underlying motor skill learning in normal and disease mouse models

Simon Chen PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, ON

This conference is organized by Hideto Takahashi. It is part of the 2021-2022 IRCM conference calendar.

In person: 
IRCM Auditorium
110, avenue des Pins O, H2W 1R7 Montreal
Wearing a mask is mandatory at all times

Zoom Link :
ID : 952 6976 2104
Code : 476372

The format – virtual or in person – will be established on a case-by-case basis, according to the evolution of public health guidelines in Quebec and in the country of the invited speaker. Please also note that changes in the exact time of the conferences may occur and that it will always be possible to attend via zoom (details to come).

About the conference:
Mammals exhibit an incredible amount of flexibility in motor control, which is believed to be due to the remarkable ability of brain circuits to rapidly undergo structural and functional plasticity to fluidly modifying body movements through learning. Disrupting these processes can often lead to impaired motor learning in both normal and diseased conditions. Our lab research focuses on bridging the gap between cellular and molecular signaling underlying the plasticity of neural circuits involved in motor skill learning. In the first part of the talk, I will present our current work, in which we revealed a critical role of a functional distinct NPAS4-expressing somatostatin-interneuron ensemble in motor learning, using chronic in vivo two-photon imaging in head-fixed behaving mice. In the second part of the talk, I will present a recently published work from the lab, in which we examined mice with a syntenic deletion of chromosome 16p11.2, a common copy number variation associated with ASD. We found 16p11.2 deletion mice display a delay in motor learning, which reminiscent of the motor learning-related deficits in children with ASD, without showing gross movement deficits. In addition, we identified a dysfunctional locus coeruleus noradrenergic (LC-NA) neuromodulatory system that leads to abnormal structural and functional changes in the motor cortex, which resulted in delayed motor learning in the 16p11.2 deletion mice. 

About Simon Chen:
Dr. Simon Chen is an assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine of the University of Ottawa. His research program focuses on elucidating the mechanisms by which neural circuits are modified through learning during the formation of new motor memories in the awake brain. Dr. Chen holds the Canada Research Chair in Neural Circuits and Behavior (Tier II) and has received funding from numerous federal agencies (NSERC, CIHR) and non-profit organisms (Brain Canada Foundation, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Scottish Rite Foundation, etc.). His innovative work during his postdoctoral fellowship, under the mentorship of Dr. Takaki Komiyama, and now as a principal investigator at the Brain and Mind Research Institute has led to publications in high-impact journals such as Nature, Nature Neuroscience and eLife.

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