Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Dr Claudia Racca

Senior Lecturer

Background

Roles and Responsibilities

Lecturer
UG, MRes, PhD and postdoc supervisor

Qualifications

Laurea in Biological Sciences, Univ of Milan, Italy, Dr
Postgrad AIRC Fellow: Cell biology & Physiology, Univ. of Milan, Italy

Research

Research Interests

Our research focuses on cellular neuroanatomy and neuronal cell biology, with a particular interest in synaptic structure and function.

1) Investigation of the functional, cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic and network activity relevant to the function and localisation of glutamate and glycine receptor proteins and mRNAs in neurons.

2) Characterisation of the physiology and neurochemistry of neuronal networks in various areas of the central nervous system (e.g. hippocampus, neocortex, and cerebellum). In particular, we aim to identify the key properties of neuronal networks in these areas in order to understand their functional roles in normal and pathological states, with reference to, for instance, schizophrenia and epilepsy. 

3) Neuroanatomical and functional characterisation of connections between neurons within networks. Synapses: their structure, spatial location, and regulation with respect to synaptic and neuronal network activity.

The lab research focuses on a multidisciplinary approach: 2D and 3D morphological and immunocytochemical techniques at the light and electron microscopy (TEM, SBFSEM) levels are combined to electrophysiology and molecular biology. This approach allow us to relate molecular, electrophysiological, and behavioural events to specific anatomical subcellular structures.

Current Work

1) Biology and physiology of neurotransmitter receptors and associated proteins, in particular GluRs and GlyRs:

  • role of neurotransmitter receptors (e.g. AMPAR, NMDAR) and associated proteins (e.g. Scribble1, Rph3a) in regulating synaptic structure and function
  • targeting and trafficking of neurotransmitter receptors (e.g. AMPAR, GlyR) and their subunit mRNAs, and local protein synthesis in the neuronal dendritic tree

2) Functional and molecular mechanisms responsible for synaptic and neuronal network remodelling,

3) Synapses: their structure, spatial location, and regulation with respect to synaptic and neuronal network activity

Publications