Fred HoerndliAssociate Professor Biomedical Sciences
The Hoerndli Lab is interested in the cell signaling mechanisms of synaptic maintenance and memory. If eyes are the windows into souls then C.elegans is a direct window into synaptic transport and function in an intact complete nervous system. The transparent nematode C.elegans with 302 neurons, a complete synaptic map, a short life span and an extensive library of genetic tools enables us to dive deep into the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory. The Hoerndli Lab uses genetic engineering, semi-automated behavioral analysis and most of all high resolution microscopy to directly observe and modify synaptic function in intact circuits of a living organism. Although very different from vertebrates at the circuit level, the molecular components and function of neurons is extremely conserved between vertebrates and C.elegans. This allows us to compare, contrast, and to define the fundamental mechanisms of synaptic function and memory.