March 25, 2020
Building 10, Clinical Center, Masur Auditorium
Rescheduled for October 14, 2020
The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Lectures occur on most Wednesdays from September through June from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Bethesda campus.
Each season includes some of the biggest names in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the WALS is to keep NIH researchers abreast of the latest and most important research in the United States and beyond. An added treat is the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, which features top authors and other cultural icons. All speakers are nominated by the NIH community.
Speaker: Mark T. Nelson, Ph.D.
The Nelson laboratory’s research interests include elucidating the mechanisms by which cerebral blood flow is controlled to meet the diverse and ever-changing demands of active neurons and how these mechanisms are disrupted in small vessel disease (SVD)—a major cause of stroke and dementia. Dr. Nelson and colleagues have unraveled many of the major mechanisms that control cerebrovascular function, including the discovery of local calcium signals (“sparks”), which counter-intuitively oppose vasoconstriction. They have recently shown that brain capillaries act as a neural activity-sensing network by initiating and transmitting an electrical signal, mediated by potassium channel activation, that propagates through the interconnected endothelial cells comprising the capillaries that line all blood vessels. This concept explains the rapid and coordinated delivery of blood to active neurons. Using a mouse model of a monogenic form of SVD, they have discovered early defects that result in a loss of this electrical signaling mechanism and impaired delivery of blood to active neurons—defects that involve changes in extracellular matrix composition. The near-term goals of Nelson laboratory researchers are to create an integrated view of electrical, calcium and related regulatory signaling mechanisms at molecular, biophysical, and computational-modeling levels by examining their operation in increasingly complex segments of the brain vasculature ex vivo, in vivo, and in silico. Ultimately, they propose to weave these research threads together to create a systems-level view of physiological signaling in the brain microcirculation, and test the concept that gradual degradation of this sensory web and the attendant progressive decay of cerebrovascular function contributes to SVDs of the brain.
This lecture will be followed by a reception in the NIH Library. Special thanks to the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) for its support of the weekly reception. FAES is proud to co-sponsor with the NIH in hosting the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.
To watch the WALS lecture online, visit http://videocast.nih.gov. Registration is not required; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Fire regulations require that every person in Masur Auditorium must have a seat. Standing in the aisles or in the back of the auditorium is not permitted. Sign language interpreters can be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event should contact Jacqueline Roberts, Jacqueline.Roberts@nih.gov, 301-594-6747, or the Federal Relay, 800-877-8339.