KAUST Research Workshop on Innovative Technologies to Study Brain Energy Metabolism
Centro de Estudios Cientificos, Chile
Luis Felipe Barros received his M.D. (1988) and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (1993) at the University of Chile. He was a postdoctoral Wellcome Trust Research Fellow from 1993 to 1996 at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, UK. From 1996 to 2000 he was Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, and in 2000 joined the Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia, Chile, where he is now Group Leader. He was named Outstanding Young Scientist of the year 2002 by the Biological Society of Chile, was member of the High Council for Science and Technology of Conicyt, Chile (2006-2009), and is the current President of the Chilean Society for Cell Biology (2009-2010). His group addresses the question of how the flux of energy relates to the flux of information and is actively developing new techniques to measure metabolic parameters using fluorescence microscopy.
L. Felipe BarrosCentro de Estudios Científicos CECs, Valdivia,
Information processing is
quantitatively coupled to energy dissipation. In the brain, this coupling
occurs in the neurogliovascular unit, a functional entity defined by
diffusional constraints and composed by strongly differentiated cell types, the
best studied being neurons and astrocytes, with emerging roles for
oligodendrocytes, microglia, pericytes and the ever elusive endothelium. This
talk will discuss how the superior spatiotemporal resolution of
genetically-encoded nanosensors for metabolites is permitting the experimental
dissection of the relative roles of these cell types and the characterization
of intercellular signals that seem to work over different distances and time
scales, namely glutamate, potassium, ammonium and nitric oxide. While brain tissue
is heterogeneous in composition and therefore likely a mosaic of
energy/signaling rules, general impressions are marked division of labor
between cell types, neuronal (and possibly endothelial) control of glial energy
metabolism, and reciprocal modulation of neuronal metabolism by glia.
Disentangling this intricate dynamic mesh appears as an exciting challenge and
a formidable task.