Munich Neuroscience Calendar


31.01.2022, 11:00 Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
until 12:00
Event Type: Talk
Speaker: Alexander Klimovich
Institute: Christian-Albrecht-University, Zoological Institute, Kiel

Title: Ancestral complexity and function of the nervous system: Lessons from the freshwater polyp Hydra

MPI of Neurobiology, Seminar room NQ 105
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried

Host: Herwig Baier

First nervous systems appeared very early in animal evolution and were certainly in place prior to the origin of bilaterally symmetric animals. However, it remains unclear what was the ancestral function of the first nervous systems. Their molecular and cellular complexity is also poorly understood. To address these questions, we use an evolutionary informative and experimentally traceable model - the freshwater polyp Hydra, which belong to the phylum Cnidaria and represents the first group of metazoans to possess a nervous system.
In my talk, I will summarize our recent findings on the nervous system complexity and function in Hydra. I will demonstrate how we use single-cell transcriptomics, behavioral assays and functional genetics approaches, to decipher the fundamental principles of the nervous system structure and function. I will reveal a remarkable complexity of the nervous systems in pre-bilaterian Metazoa and provide evidence for the central role of the nervous system in host-microbiome crosstalk in animals. Finally, I will highlight Hydra as a strategic experimental system for neurobiology and outline outstanding questions for further research.

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