Friday, September 3, 2021

Neurology/Neuroscience Research Seminar

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

CME credit available, click here

Virtual event

Zoom ID: 910 4550 7427 Passcode: 829259

"EARLY LIFE SLEEP AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT: Lessons from the Prairie Vole About Autism"

Miranda Lim, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Oregon Health Science University

Sleep is important for brain development, and disrupted sleep early in life is common in developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder. Autistic individuals have difficulty engaging in complex social behaviors. By studying the wild prairie vole, a highly social monogamous rodent, Dr. Lim's team has shown that early life sleep disruption during a sensitive developmental window affects brain circuitry and impairs social bonding between voles in a manner reminiscent of autism. Impaired social bonding was associated with changes in dendritic spine density in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a late-maturing brain region affected in human autism. The lecture will showcase methods and preliminary data collected from Dr. Lim’s Visiting Scientist project in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Brendon Watson, working with Dr. Lezio Soares Bueno Jr., which will attempt to record individual neurons in PFC from voles during pair bond formation and exposure to a partner versus a stranger. In summary, these data support the hypothesis that the function of early life sleep is to provide proper tuning of social circuits in the brain and may represent a modifiable risk factor in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder.