Jimena Alejandra Sierralta, Ph.D.

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Program of Physiology and Biophysics
Institution
University of Chile
Address
Av. Independencia 1027
City
Santiago
Country
Chile
E-mail
jimena[at]neuro.med.uchile.cl
Website
http://www.sierraltalab.cl/
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
1996
Country Of Origin
Chile
Mentor Name
Charles Zuker, Ph.D.

Research

The interest of my laboratory is the synapse, a specialized junction between neurons that allows the transmission of information between neurons or between a neuron and a post-synaptic cell such as a muscle cell. Our goal is to understand how the synapses are formed, maintained and modified along the life span of an organism.Since the basic principles underlying the function and structure of a synapse are shared by all organisms that possess a nervous system, we chose as a model organism the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila as animal model presents several advantages such as the short life cycle (10 days at 25ºC), the known genome and the multiple genetic tools available to manipulate the expression of genes in a precise tissue and time of development. These characteristics allow us to follow an in vivo approach to study the role of synaptic proteins on synaptic function and structure.