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Professor Anne Andrews, University of California, Los Angeles

March 7, 2016 - 4:30pm
Braun Lecture Hall
S.G. Mudd Building
Stanford University

"Chemical neurotransmission and functional nanomaterials"

About the Seminar:

Many small molecules including amino acids, amino acid derivatives, and peptides have been identified as chemical neurotransmitters. Neuronal cells using different neurotransmitters have spatially distinct patterns that translate into highly heterogeneous chemistries in brain extracellular microenvironments. Accordingly, measurements of neurotransmitters with high spatial, temporal, and chemical resolution will prove fundamental to understanding basic neural information processing.

Identifying artificial neurotransmitter receptors from synthesized combinatorial libraries is key to advancing chemical selectivity for neurotransmitter sensing in vivo. We have developed a number of avenues for controlled placement and ligation of small molecules on nanoengineered substrates that enable selection of molecular recognition elements. We discovered methods of patterning small-molecule substrates with features as small as tens of nanometers and patterns over millimeters. As such, we have identified a set of design rules that achieve high degrees of specific and selective biomolecule recognition of immobilized small molecules. Recent advances include identification of surface-patterned neurotransmitters by nucleic acid binding partners. Small-molecule-functionalized nanomaterials are generalizable for a wide range of biosensing and bioengineering applications.

About the Speaker:

Anne Andrews, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, Andrews leads efforts in basic and translational research on anxiety and depression, and at the nexus of nanoscience and neuroscience. Andrews’ interdisciplinary research team focuses on understanding how the serotonin system and particularly, the serotonin transporter, modulate neurotransmission to influence complex behaviors including anxiety, mood, stress responsiveness, and learning and memory.

Dr. Andrews earned her B.S. in chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and received her Ph.D. in chemistry as a U.S. Department of Education Fellow working at the National Institute of Mental Health. There, she was also a postdoctoral fellow and senior staff fellow. Andrews has been the recipient of an NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence, an Eli Lily Outstanding Young Analytical Chemist Award, an American Parkinson’s Disease Association Research Award, and a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Independent Investigator Award. She is a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, International Society for Serotonin Research vice president, an advisory board member for the International Society for Monitoring Molecules in Neuroscience, and serves as Associate Editor for ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

To learn more about her research program and to view her publications, see

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