Jason Dictenberg is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Hunter College and at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He received his B.A. degree from Brandeis University with Honors (1994) and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (2001). He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where his research was the first to demonstrate a role for FMRP (the fragile X mental retardation protein) in dendritic mRNA transport, and that transport dynamics were defective in neurons derived from a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome. His research interests focus on the processes of mRNA transport and translation within neuronal dendrites and at synapses, regulatory steps in gene expression that are essential for learning and memory. His laboratory studies focus on the mechanism by which expression of dendritic mRNAs influences morphologic plasticity, the change in synaptic shape, that is, coincident with synapse activity. While most investigators utilize biochemical techniques to quantify average changes in gene expression among many neurons simultaneously, Dictenberg’s laboratory studies focus on combining novel imaging technologies with cell biology methods to quantify gene expression in real-time in single living cells. Emphasis is placed on the visualization of single mRNAs and their subsequent translation in response to synaptic stimulation. These approaches are being developed using superresolution quantitative light microscopy techniques coupled with novel in vivo methods for spatial and temporal control of light-activated gene expression. Ultimately this work will highlight how specific mRNAs are regulated during synaptogenesis and long-term synapse plasticity and how defects in the expression of genes controlling learning and memory result in neurological disease. Dictenberg is the recipient of grants from the NIH and NSF to study the role of mRNA transport and translation in synapse development.
Biography Updated on 3 January 2012