Speaker: Dumitru A. Iacobas, Ph.D.

When: 12:00pm, Oct 9, 2019

Where: ELEN231


Brain is the most complex organ of the human body, containing almost 100 billion neurons and a roughly equal number of non-neuronal nervous cells: astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia. Brain is organized in a very sophisticated way, well-defined anatomical regions coordinating all major physiological processes in the body. Thus, the hypothalamus is responsible for the regulation of metabolism, body temperature, hunger, parenting and attachment behaviors, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian rhythms. Hippocampus controls anxiety and social fearfulness, spatial learning, memory and novel object recognition. The prefrontal cortex controls the social behavior, including aggression and emotional reactivity. Despite gender equality with respect to the law, male and female behaviors are not identical even for twins, males performing better than females for certain tasks but worse for others. Most likely, the behavior and cognitive differences are related to the ways the brain circuits are formed in each sex and remodel during cerebral activities, progression of a neurological disease or in response to a treatment. Every neuron is connected by synapses with up to ten thousands other neurons. Glutamatergic is the major excitatory and GABAergic the major inhibitory synapse, both of them associated with major mental functions. The cholinergic synapse facilitates learning, memory and attention, the dopaminergic synapse controls learning, memory, motivation and reward, and the serotonergic synapse is involved in learning and memory, emotion, and abnormal mood and cognition. However, the molecular mechanisms specializing each brain area for a particular mental function are still to be understood. Still far from completely known are how the genomic alterations result in cognition and other brain functions decline. The seminar will present speaker’s results from profiling the cortex, forebrain, hypothalamus arcuate and paraventricular nuclei, hippocampal C1, C2 and dentate gyrus, as well cultured astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons from mouse, rat and rabbit models of epilepsy, infantile spasms, autism, gliosis and other neurological disorders.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Iacobas, Research Professor and Director of the CCSB Personalized Genomics Laboratory from 2018, is an expert of both experimental and computational genomics. Trained as a biophysicist (PhD of the University of Bucharest, Romania), he was on faculty positions at medical schools from Romania (1981-2001) and NY (Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Neuroscience 2001-2013, New York Medical College-Pathology 2013-2017). At NYMC he founded and directed the Systems Biology Core and at Einstein he was the Associate Director of the Neurogenomics Core.

Out of the 236 Iacobas’ publications, 53 are as single author, 114 as first author and 31 as last author. The neuroscience-related publications include 3 patents in neuromicroelectrophsyiology, 3 books, 3 book chapters and 40 papers in: Biochem Biopys Res Comm, Biochim Biofis Acta, Biol Theory, Biophys J, Brain Res, Cell Commun Adhes, EMBO J, Eur J Neurosci, Exp Brain Res, Exp Neurol, Front Int Neurosci, Front Neurosci, Genes, Genomics, J Biomol Tech, J Membr Biol, J Neuroend, J Neuroparasitol, J Neurosci Res, Mol Genet Genomics, Nature Sci Rep, Neural Regen Res, Neurochem Intl, Neuron Glia Biol, Physiol Genomics, Prog Biophys Mol Biol. He has also 3 bioprojects, 5 nucleotides, 11 proteins and 56 neuroscience-related genomic datasets included in the database of the National Library of Medicine.

Most recent neuroscience publication is: Iacobas DA, Iacobas S, Lee PR, Cohen JE, Fields RD (2019). Coordinated Activity of Transcriptional Networks Responding to the Pattern of Action Potential Firing in Neurons. Genes 10(10), 754. doi: 10.3390/genes10100754.