Despite the attention devoted to studying how neurons communicate through neurotransmitters released at synapses, many neurons also release neurotransmitters away from the synapse. Such non-synaptic release is implicated in many cognitive functions, but we have a poor understanding of it occurs and how it can alter neural circuit function in the intact CNS
- 2021: Chancellor’s Fellow, Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
- 2015-2021: Postdoctoral fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK
- 2015: PhD in Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh, UK
- 2008: MSc in Molecular Biology & Genetics, University of Lisbon, Portugal
- 2007: Undergraduate degree in Microbiology & Genetics, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Despite the attention devoted to studying how neurons communicate through neurotransmitters released at synapses, many neurons also release neurotransmitters away from the synapse. Such non-synaptic release is implicated in many cognitive functions, but we have a poor understanding of it occurs and how it can alter neural circuit function in the intact CNS. During my postdoctoral studies I established new methods to image neurotransmitter release in entire neurons in intact zebrafish.
I found that non-synaptic release in zebrafish spinal axons can be as frequent as at synapses, and elicit responses in nearby glial cells. Neurotransmitters released non-synaptically in vivo have a potentially broad reach, placing non-synaptic release as a fundamental mode of circuit regulation. Due to their optical and genetic access, I use zebrafish to study intact neurons embedded in their natural circuits and gain insights into this understudied mode of communication in vivo. Furthermore, non-synaptic release involves some proteins typically studied only in synapses and encoded by genes implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the mechanistic overlap and distinctions in synaptic and non-synaptic release remain unclear, and how dysregulated non-synaptic signalling contributes to such neurodevelopmental disorders is unknown.
Thus, investigating non-synaptic signaling in vivo will elucidate both the normal workings of the brain and how it malfunctions.
- Almeida RG, Williamson JM , Madden ME, Early JJ, Voas MG, Talbot WS, Bianco IH and Lyons DA. Myelination induces axonal hotspots of synaptic vesicle fusion that promote sheath growth, Curr Biol. 2021 (in press)
- Williamson JM, Lyons DA, Almeida RG. Manipulating Neuronal Activity in the Developing Zebrafish Spinal Cord to Investigate Adaptive Myelination, Methods Mol Biol. 2019
- Almeida RG. The Rules of Attraction in Central Nervous System Myelination, Front Cell Neurosci. 2018
- Almeida RG, S Pan, KLH Cole, JM Williamson, JJ Early, T Czopka, A Klingseisen, JR Chan and DA Lyons. Myelination of neuronal cell bodies when myelin supply exceeds axonal demand, Curr Biol. 2018
- Almeida RG, Lyons DA. On Myelinated Axon Plasticity and Neuronal Circuit Formation and Function, J Neurosci. 2017
- Almeida RG, Lyons D. Oligodendrocyte Development in the Absence of Their Target Axons In Vivo, PLoS One. 2016