TCBG Seminar

Structure And Function of Synapses: Novel Insights From Spatially Realistic Cell Simulations

Dr. Markus Dittrich
National Resource for Biomedical Supercomputing
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
10:00 am (CT)
3269 Beckman Institute


In the first part of my presentation I will give a brief overview of several of the projects I have been leading at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the National Resource for Biomedical Supercomputing, including the Anton project. I will then talk about our ongoing work on developing tools for simulating cell level systems and I will introduce our Monte-Carlo diffusion-reaction code MCell. As a specific application of MCell I will then summarize a recently developed realistic and predictive model of calcium entry and synaptic vesicle release at the neuromuscular junction. Using our model, we were able to reconcile a long-standing discrepancy between known physiological data and more recent structural and biochemical findings regarding the composition of the synaptic vesicle release apparatus consisting of SNARE complexes and synaptotagmin. In addition,our model provides important microscopic insight into the structure and function of calcium triggered vesicle release inaccessible to experimental study.

Main TCBG Seminars page