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Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF

Faculty - Kira Poskanzer, Ph.D.

Astrocytic and neuronal function in the cortical microcircuit

Research Description

Astrocytes are numerous throughout the central nervous system and are intimately intercalated with neuronal synapses through their fine branches, yet the function of this glial cell remains undefined, particularly at the circuit level. In my lab, we use optical and electrophysiological techniques to capture population-wide activity with single-cell and subcellular resolution in the mouse cortical circuit. We are investigating the mechanisms by which astrocytes are activated using multiphoton optochemical techniques and are developing novel optical tools that allow us to image and manipulate astrocytic activity in three dimensions in the microcircuit, addressing fundamental questions about how non-neuronal circuit elements shape neural processing. 

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Current Projects

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Lab Members

Jennifer Thompson, Faculty Analyst

Wei Yu, MD, Research Specialist

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Selected Publications

Poskanzer KE and Yuste R. Astrocytic control of cortical state switching. In review.

Pnevmatikakis EA, Gao Y, Soundry D, Pfau D, Lacefield C, Poskanzer K, Bruno R, Yuste R, Paninski L (2014). A structured matrix factorization framework for large scale calcium imaging data analysis. arXiv:1409.2903 [q-bio.NC].

Izquierdo-Serra M, Gascon-Moya M, Hirtz JJ, Pittolo S, Ferrer E, Poskanzer KE, Trauner D, Yuste R, Alibes R, Busque F, Hernando J, Gorostiza P (2014). Two-photon neuronal and astrocytic stimulation of azobenzene-based photoswitches. J Am Chem Soc, 136(24):8693–8701.

Poskanzer KE and Yuste R (2011) Astrocytic regulation of cortical UP states. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(45):18453–8.

Nikolenko V, Poskanzer KE, Yuste R (2007). Two-photon photostimulation and imaging of neural circuits. Nature Methods, 4(11):943–50.

Poskanzer KE, Fetter RD, Davis, GW (2006). Discrete residues in the C(2)B domain of synaptotagmin I independently specify endocytic rate and synaptic vesicle size. Neuron, 50(1):49–62.

Poskanzer KE, Marek KW, Sweeney ST, Davis GW (2003). Synaptotagmin I is necessary for compensatory synaptic vesicle endocytosis in vivo. Nature, 426(6966):559–63.

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Kira Poskanzer, Ph.D.


Phone 415-921-9229

Fax 415-502-2374

Office Address

1550 4th Street
Box 2711, Rock Hall, room 384F
San Francisco, CA 94158

Other Websites

Lab Website