Nicholas George Graduate Student, Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
"I am jointly mentored by Dr. Restrepo and Dr. Wendy Macklin (http://www.macklinlab.com/people) and I study the interactions of neurons and oligodendrocytes in the context of olfactory sensory perception.
Neurons transmit information over long distances in the olfactory system, and both the fidelity of signal transmission and the timing of signal arrival at different locations is largely dependent on a fatty insulating layer around axons called myelin, which is made by oligodendrocytes in the CNS. Recent work has indicated that oligodendrocytes and the myelin they produce are very plastic structures, and can change following activity and over the course of normal development. My project involves studying how oligodendrocytes and neurons adapt to manipulations such as naris occlusion or a model of mild demyelination with the Plp1-null mouse (https://elifesciences.org/articles/34783), and how this in turn affects olfactory sensory perception."
Serapio M. Baca, Ph.D. Assistant Research Professor
"I am a systems neuroscientist interested in the mechanisms underlying migraine and headache. As an Assistant Research Professor, I collaborate with Dr. Restrepo’s team to utilize tools and approaches developed in his lab and in collaboration with bioengineers and apply them to my preclinical migraine studies. These studies use an animal model of migraine called cortical spreading depression.
I also collaborate and provide assistance for Ethan Guthman’s project that is a collaborative effort between Molly Huntsman and Diego Restrepo."
Dnate' Baxter Bolt, MS, Professional Research Assistant, Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
As part of the Restrepo Lab, I am working on identifying olfactory receptors for semiochemical detection in the main olfactory epithelium (MOE). Data from previous work in the lab shows that a subset of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) expressing Trpm5 detect low levels of semiochemicals in mice. Using RNA isolated from the sorted cells of the MOE, we are examining differential expression in this subpopulation of OSNs to determine which olfactory receptors may respond to semiochemicals and to look at other possible functional differences in these cells. I am also working on the collaboration project with Dr. Ramakrishnan to investigate Trpm5 expressing OSNs in human olfactory epithelium. An additional goal of the project is identifying method(s) of detecting olfactory vs respiratory epithelium in vivo.
Nicole Arevalo, BS, MA Senior Research Associate, Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
"As part of the Restrepo lab (and collaborators), I build, maintain and repair the olfactometer equipment. An olfactometer, or electric nose, is an instrument used to detect and measure odor dilution. The machine delivers odors in a precise manner using a computer-controlled, multiple-channel odor generator, operant test chamber, and discrimination training procedure.
I also collaborate and provide assistance to the SPARC group on campus (Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions). The focus of the SPARC group is a collaborative effort to develop a “Peripheral Nerve Interface.”
Past projects have included investigating learning, memory, attention and cognition defects in schizophrenia. Schizophrenics (as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s individuals) have decreased expression of α7-nicotinic acetylcholine (α7) receptors, which leads to difficulties in odor discrimination and detection."
Stephanie Meyer, Ph.D. Senior Research Associate, Department of Bioengineering
Project: STED Microscopy "As part of an NIH Shared Instrument Grant I built the two-color STED microscope that is part of the Advanced Light Microscopy Core on the CU Anschutz medical campus. More recently I have been working under an NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant to build a live-cell, two-color STED microscope for video-rate imaging that incorporates a photo-activation laser for imaging the dynamic response of the cells to stimulation."
Laetitia Merle, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
I joined the Restrepo lab to study three apparently disparate fields: olfaction, viral infection, and Alzheimer’s disease. First, olfactory deficit is an early sensory phenotype of Alzheimer’s disease. Second, viruses like Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) have been proposed as triggers for Alzheimer’s disease. And third, the main olfactory epithelium constitutes a route of entry for pathogens to the central nervous system. We hypothesize that HSV-1 infection within the main olfactory epithelium produces a neuroinflammatory environment that interferes with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. We address these questions using advanced live imaging techniques and optogenetic tools.
Former Lab Members
Justin T. Losacco Graduate Student, Neuroscience Program
"I'm investigating how the encoding of odor concentration differs from that of odor identity at the level of the olfactory bulb through the use of tetrode electrophysiology in awake, behaving mice. Questions include: How is odor identity maintained over varying stimulus strengths? Does the power of the local field potential scale solely with stimulus strength, or does stimulus valence also contribute? To which bands?"