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Teen Science Cafe: Watt’s Up With Your Brain?

12/04/2020 | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST

Electrochemistry and Neuroscience

Electrochemistry and neuroscience intersect in the Sombers Lab. Leslie Sombers uses techniques that involve shocking cells to release dopamine, among other neurotransmitters, to study the miniscule changes that occur within the brain. The research is performed at a variety of levels, ranging from investigation of biophysical factors that govern membrane fusion in a single cell to recording fluctuations of specific neurochemicals in conscious animals as they are making decisions in a controlled environment. Come to this Café to learn about how the developments in her lab can be used to help treat issues from Parkinson’s disease to addiction.


About our speaker

Leslie Sombers is Professor of Chemistry and University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University, where she is also graduate faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a member of the Comparative Medicine Institute. She is a recognized leader in the field of in vivo molecular monitoring, with an interest in real-time monitoring of neurochemicals in diverse systems. Professor Sombers completed her undergraduate coursework in Chemistry at The College of William and Mary in Virginia. Her graduate work was completed at Penn State University, where she focused on electroanalytical techniques for measuring individual neurotransmitter release events from single cells. Her postdoctoral research was completed in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina (UNC), where she mastered advanced electrochemical strategies for monitoring neurotransmitter dynamics in live tissue. While at UNC she also worked closely with the Psychology Department to learn about animal models of motivated behavior. She has won an NSF CAREER Award, an NIH Early Career Award in the Chemistry of Drug Abuse and Addiction, and numerous research grants to fund her work. These awards have enabled her to develop a range of electroanalytical tools for monitoring neurotransmitter fluctuations that underlie brain function. The overall goal of the work is to develop technologies that push the boundaries of how we understand information encoding in the brain, and its dysregulation by disease.




North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
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