OVERALL RESEARCH GOALS //
. To understand how synaptic connections in the brain are formed, remodeled and eliminated;
. To determine how synaptic connections are impacted in the diseased brain;
. To further our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying learning and behaviour.
Synapses of the central nervous system are highly specialized regions of cell-cell contact designed to rapidly and efficiently relay signals from one neuron to another. By establishing a dynamic yet precise network of synaptic connections, the brain is able to attain a level of functional complexity that enables not only simple motor tasks, but also sophisticated emotional and cognitive behaviour. The study of how synapses form and function is therefore essential to our ultimate understanding of higher brain functions such as learning and memory.
Synapses of the CNS are continuously formed, remodeled and eliminated over the life of an organism. It has been suggested that perturbation of these processes may contribute to the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, as well as developmental and psychiatric diseases including autism and schizophrenia.
Our lab primarily focuses on the role of cadherin adhesion complexes in regulating synapse formation and function. To better understand the functioning of the brain, and to design novel therapies to protect synapse form and function, we ask:
① How do cadherin adhesion complexes localize synaptic proteins to axodendritic contact sites?
② How does neuronal activity modify cadherin adhesion complexes and the subsequent regulation of synapse morphology and efficacy?
③ What determines whether synaptic structures are stabilized or eliminated?
④ How does regulating synaptic adhesion complexes impact learning and behaviour?
✱ Primary hippocampal cultures
✱ Confocal and time-lapse imaging
✱ Electron microscopy
✱ Genetically modified mouse models
✱ Stereotactic surgeries
✱ Behavioural assays for learning and memory
NEWS AND UPDATES //
|The Bamji Lab @awards • 10th December 2016
What better way to celebrate Christmas than with delicious Lebanese food and an escape room? We'll be international elite hackers in no time!
|The Bamji Lab @events • 16th November 2016
Come take a look at PhD student Andrea Globa's poster on how cadherins can mediate cocaine-induced synaptic plasticity at SfN 2016!
|The Bamji Lab @talks • 15th November 2016
Come listen to PhD student Jordan Shimell present his work on the palmitoylation enzyme DHHC9 at SfN 2016!
|The Bamji Lab @events • 24th October 2016
The Bamji Lab would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Nusrat Matin who joined us today as our new postdoc! We look forward to working with you. :)
|The Bamji Lab @events • 1st September 2016
Everybody is looking forward to working with Matthew Edwards, our newest PhD student. Welcome to the Bamji lab!
|The Bamji Lab @events • 1st June 2016
Look out for Jordan Shimell and Andrea Globa presenting their research posters today at CAN 2016!
|The Bamji Lab @talks • 30th May 2016
Come see Dr. Shernaz Bamji’s talk on the “Regulation of synapse form and function through palmitoylation” today during symposium 2 at CAN 2016!
|The Bamji Lab @events • 29th May 2016
Great to be a part of the community representing Canadian neuroscience research at CAN 2016!
|The Bamji Lab @talks • 5th May 2016
Enjoying our time at the Loon Lake Retreat discussing our latest findings and catching up with fellow members of UBC's Cell and Physiological Sciences department.
|The Bamji Lab @events • 2nd May 2016
We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Bhavin Shah who is joining the lab today as a Postdoctoral Fellow!
|The Bamji Lab @awards • 29th April 2016
Congratulations to Farah, Megan, Sepehr and Vincent (BIOL488 Directed Studies students) for finishing their projects in the lab!
|The Bamji Lab @awards • 11th March 2016
A huge congratulations to Jordan Shimell for winning the Junior Graduate Prize for his poster at UBC's GSA Research Day!