Event

Brain Awareness Week - Science Café

14/03/17

As part of Brain Awareness Week, the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology (King’s College London) and Cosy Science invite you to join an evening of informal and exciting scientific discussions on how neuronal death, stereotyped cell death, is orchestrated and what happens to ‘zombie neurons’ that have been kept alive using genetic tricks in the fruit fly Drosophila.

If you want to build something well it is essential to have the right materials to start with. In the case of constructing a neural network that means having the right number of neurons, of the right type. Most of the neurons that make up the nervous system of an adult fly are generated when it is a maggot, crawling around in liquid food. We have found that about half of the neurons that are born in the maggot undergo a stereotyped cell death. We would like to know how this neuronal death is orchestrated and what happens to ‘zombie neurons’ that have been kept alive using genetic tricks in the fruit fly Drosophila. By studying the development of strange creatures like flies we can gain insight into the design principles of all nervous systems.
Darren Williams is Reader at the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College London. His research group exploits the extreme biology of Drosophila metamorphosis to uncover novel cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopment. We are interested how the anatomy and function of lineally related neurons are acquired and how the shape of individual neurons can be sculpted at both the cellular and subcellular level. Studying flies can help us identify both evolutionary conserved mechanisms (homologies) and novel convergent ways of solving the same problem (analogies). Together these help inform us about design principles of nervous systems.

Attendance to the event is free, you can win prizes at our Cosy Science quiz and there will be free drinks for the audience!

Cosy Science  is a monthly informal gathering in which we discuss the hottest topics in science over a drink in a relaxed environment.

This special event for Brain Awareness Week is supported by a Public Engagement Small Grant from King's College London and the Wellcome Trust