Professor Oliver Hobert

Columbia University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York

Title: “Homeoboxes build the C. elegans nervous system”

Abstract: With just 118 cell types, the nematode C. elegans contains the smallest currently known nervous system. This simplicity should enable a complete understanding of how distinct neuronal cell types are specified and assembled into functional circuitry. Such complete understanding may reveal common themes and organizational principles of neuronal cell type specification that may be conserved across phylogeny. I will describe my laboratory’s efforts in attaining such a complete understanding. We have used molecular maps of gene expression throughout the nervous system to uncover scores of regulatory factors (called terminal selectors) that specify the unique identity of individual neuron types. Currently, terminal selectors have been identified for almost 90 of the 118 distinct neuron classes. Two emerging themes are the preponderance of homeobox genes in specifying neuronal identity and the association of homeobox gene expression with neuronal circuitry. I will propose potential implications of these findings for the evolution of nervous systems.


About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium on Level 7 are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018