The Vanderbilt Conte Center for Neuroscience Research Enduring Impact of Early-Life Serotonin Signaling involves a set of highly interdependent projects targeting genetic, molecular, biochemical and cellular facets of serotonin (5-HT) neuronal identity, development, signaling, physiology and behavior. The Bioanalytical Core provides a set of physical resources in dedicated space accompanied by dedicated technical staff to support the efforts of Conte Center projects. The Bioanalytical Core, under the directorship of Dr. Ariel Deutch, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt, organizes research support on behalf of Conte Investigators in the areas of neurochemical, receptor, and transport assays, protein analyses, and mouse genotyping. Neurochemical analyses include RIA assays to measure signal transduction molecules and neurotransmitter release assays using in vivo microdialysis or in vitro slice suprafusion approaches. Receptor assays include radioligand binding to isolated brain membranes or autoradiography analysis of mouse brain sections. The Core also provides support for the genotyping of mouse lines used in each of the projects. Research space dedicated to core activities in the MRBIII building contains instrumentation and bench space for daily activities related to support activities and includes a microdialysis laboratory room to provide a quiet environment for the measurement of extracellular neurotransmitters in awake, freely moving mice. As with our prior application, Drs. Deutch and Gresch coordinate research support activities with the ongoing pace and priorities of Conte projects and provide training of junior scientists to gain experience in laboratory methodologies that can facilitate their professional development. The detailed methods and resources offered by the Core are shared with Conte investigators and the scientific community through the Conte website and demonstrated through one-on-one interactions with project staff. Finally, the Core provides support for Conte pilot grantees to insure the optimum use of pilot resources and the progression of projects toward more sustained research support.
The Conte Center projects proposed seek an advanced understanding of the molecular and physiological impact of altered 5-HT signaling capacity during development. To achieve this goal, research support activities are needed that extend each project's investigations and which bring skills that either do not exist or which are more efficiently provided through the Bioanalytical Core's contributions.
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