Neuroscience Seminar Series: Breathing matters! Genes, ion channels, neurons, and networks at the core of breathing behavior

December 6, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Speaker: Christopher Del Negro, Professor of Applied Science, William & Mary


Summary: Breathing is a vital and incessant behavior. Before it can produce any other behavior, the brain must generate and vigilantly regulate breathing according to physiological demand. My lab seeks to explain the neural origins of breathing at basic levels of organization of the nervous system. In this presentation I will describe the core network that produces inspiratory breathing movements, its core constituent interneurons and their genetic signature, the cellular and synaptic mechanisms that underlie rhythmicity, as well as specific ion channels that influence motor output for for breathing movements. I will make the bold argument that breathing is the first behavior that we will be able to explain fully, which is an important goal for neuroscience. Understanding the neural origins of breathing may have important translational applications and may help unravel other physiological behaviors that involve rhythmic movements.

Presented by Mason’s Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience The Neuroscience Seminar Series is back in a virtual format this Fall 2021. Learn about topics and issues related to neuroscience research from experts in multidisciplinary fields. Seminars are free and open to everyone.