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Mechanisms of biological self-organization from the molecular scale to behavior

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 — Concurrent Symposia Session IV

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Classroom 3


  • Edward Giniger, NINDS
  • Ajay Chitnis, NICHD


Throughout biology, astonishingly complex structures build themselves through processes of self-organization. Recent discoveries have revealed mechanisms that underlie self-organization in domains that span an extraordinary range of physical scale, from molecular machinery to behavioral modules in the brain. Remarkably, while the detailed mechanisms vary, many principles of design and construction are conserved across that range of applications. These include the primacy of local information, progressive refinement of spatial information, separation of regulatory vs effector elements, use of dynamic machinery to maintain static structures and the critical role of error surveillance and correction mechanisms. This symposium will examine examples of self-organization across the range from molecules, to cells, to tissues, to the whole organism, and discuss the mechanisms that achieve it.

How axon morphology and dynamics arise from signaling by the Abl tyrosine kinase pathway
Edward Giniger, NINDS

Assembly of glutamatergic neuromuscular synapses in Drosophila
Mihaela Serpe, NICHD

Mechanisms of collective cell migration in the development of the zebrafish lateral line
Ajay Chitnis, NICHD

BMP signaling and the organization of hair cells in the cochlea
Matthew Kelley, NIDCD

Coding of olfactory information in the antennal lobe of the insect brain
Mark Stopfer, NICHD

Single Cell Analysis Reveals Multiple Cellular Mechanisms of Endothelial Morphogenesis in vivo; FARE award winner
Alex Yu, NICHD

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