Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Brigita Widiarto Rose Hills

Disrupted Synaptic Remodeling Due to a Loss of Interleukin-33 Signaling

Interactions between neurons and glia are required for healthy synaptic remodeling, the formation and removal of synapses, and in developing a mature neural circuit. Neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and schizophrenia are devastating outcomes as a result of faulty circuit and synapse formation. Recently published work from the Molofsky lab has shown that developing astrocytes release an innate immune molecule, interleukin-33 (IL-33). This molecule signals to microglia to remove excess synapses from neurons. But it is unclear how circuits and neuronal activity are affected when the receptor for IL-33 (ST2) on microglia is lacking. We hypothesize that microglia lacking ST2 will have abnormal synaptic remodeling. To investigate this further, we will modulate the exposure mice have to light stimulus during the critical period of development for the mouse visual system. The amount of light that a mouse sees during this critical period will result in different rates of synaptic remodeling and neuronal activity. This will allow us to gain insight on the role of immune signaling in brain development.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much to the Rose Hills Foundation for funding my summer research. Working full time in a neuroscience lab this past summer has been an enriching and truly memorable experience for me both as a student and as a researcher. I am grateful for the chance to further explore a topic that I find fascinating and immerse myself in brain development research. This opportunity has allowed me to learn skills that I have not been able to learn in a typical classroom setting. SURF Rose Hills Experience has played a pivotal role in my academic growth. As a researcher, I feel more confident now from the experiences I have acquired and I plan to continue with research in the future. Once again, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the Rose Hills Foundation for providing me with the opportunity to carry out my research project over the summer.
Profile image of Brigita Widiarto
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Ilia Vainchtein
Sponsor: Rose Hills Experience
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