2019 Kuffler Lectures

Carla Shatz, Ph.D.
Synapses Lost and Found in Brain Development, Disease and Repair

“Brain Waves and Synapse Remodeling in the Developing Visual System”
Monday, May 6th at 4 p.m.
Skaggs Auditorium, UC San Diego

“Surprise at the Synapse: MHC Class I, Pruning and Plasticity”
Tuesday, May 7th at 4 p.m.
Skaggs Auditorium, UC San Diego

“New synapses in old brains? Developmental Critical Periods and Alzheimer’s Disease”
Wednesday, May 8th at 4 p.m.
Skaggs Auditorium, UC San Diego

The lectures are open to the public. No RSVP required.


Carla Shatz

About the Lecturer

Biology and Neurobiology
Stanford University

Dr. Carla Shatz's research aims to understand how early developing brain circuits are transformed into adult connections during critical periods of development. By studying the visual system of mammals, Dr. Shatz determined that adult wiring emerges from dynamic interactions between neurons involving neural function and synaptic plasticity, which upended the prevailing belief that organization of the visual system was genetically pre-determined. She further demonstrated that neurons' electrical activity governs the production of a group of molecules called major histocompatibility complex class one (MCH1), which were better known for their role in the immune system at the time. This discovery led to the identification of the novel receptor PirB, which binds to MHC1 and can inhibit the formation of new synapses. Her work focusing on the development of the mammalian visual system has relevance not only for treating disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, but also for understanding how the nervous and immune systems interact.

Dr. Shatz is the Sapp Family Provostal Professor of Biology and Neurobiology at Stanford University, and the David Starr Jordan Director of Stanford Bio-X. Among her many awards and honors are the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, the Gruber Prize in Neuroscience, the Harvey Prize in Science and Technology, the Sackler Prize, the Gill Prize in Neuroscience, the Ralph Gerard Prize in Neurosciences (SFN), and the Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award (SFN). She is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Society (London), and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

The 2019 Kuffler Lectures are hosted by Sue Ackerman.