Neuroscience tab

2004 Gruber Neuroscience Links & Other Resources

Scientific Achievements
Dr. Seymour Benzer began his career as a physicist and then switched to molecular biology making landmark contributions to the fine structure of the gene. In the 1960?s, Benzer began to apply molecular biologic tools to unravel questions in the neurosciences. He utilized a simple animal, the fruit fly Drosophila, as a means of linking individual genes to their behavioral phenotypes. In a short period of time, he generated classic Drosophila mutants that have led to major advances in neurobiology. One of the first was the ?period? mutant. Subsequent cloning revealed that it codes for crucial elements of the biological clock, whose elucidation has revolutionized the field of biological rhythms. Benzer developed ?dunce? as a mutant deficient in learning due to an abnormality in the enzyme phosphodiesterase. Subsequent research has reinforced the importance of phosphodiesterase in learning and behavior leading to the development of potential therapeutic agents for cognitive enhancement. Benzer?s identification of ?sevenless? opened up avenues for understanding nervous system development. His work on the ?shaker? mutant led to the identification of the potassium channel responsible for important clinical abnormalities. ?

-- Dr. Solomon Snyder