Åsa Mackenzie

Department of Organismal and Comparative Physiology, Upsala University, Sweden

Title: Neuronal and functional heterogeneity of the basal ganglia, subthalamic nucleus

Abstract: Dr. Åsa Mackenzie is a developmental and systems neuroscientist. She works with understanding how the subthalamic nucleus (STN) integrates behavior. STN is the only excitatory nucleus in the basal ganglia and is situated closely to the output of the basal ganglia. It has been suggested  to control several different, but seemingly distinct, functions, including regulation of voluntary movement and reward and/or aversive behavior. By the use of molecular and optogenetic tools, Dr. Mackenzie has deciphered which neurons of the STN engage in what type of behavior and provided information about which neurons – or domains of neurons - may be beneficial to stimulate in restorative therapies that target the STN, such as deep brain stimulation. In her work she uses transgenic mice but has also started to analyze primate tissue to reveal the level of translation potential of several molecular markers that she has identified within the STN and its adjacent structures in mice. In this talk she will discuss these function of STN as well as how the anatomical-functional decoding of the subthalamic area is of interest for increased specificity and positive outcome in treatment strategies of basal ganglia disorders, such as Parkinson´s disease.

Please join us prior to the talk for coffee and cookies.