"Our neural cells form the road map that defines who we are and what we experience. What makes these cells chose a particular synaptic partner and how are these choices maintained? Addressing these questions requires a well-defined and accessible neural circuit. Toward that end, we focus our studies on retina and visual areas of the brain."
Dr. Melanie Samuel aims to decode the structural and molecular regulators of synaptic rewiring. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and CPRIT Scholar in the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine. As a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar she earned three bachelor’s degrees from the University of Idaho (summa cum laude) and then completed her Ph.D. at Washington University studying neurotropic viral pathogenesis with Michael Diamond. As a postdoctoral fellow with Joshua Sanes at Harvard University she developed the retina as a model for synaptic aging. Her past awards include those from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the Brain Research Foundation and a Pathway to Independence Award from the NIH, and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Dr. Samuel’s interdisciplinary research group leverages nanoscopic imaging technologies and high throughput in vivo molecular studies of single cells and their circuits in order to identify ways to repair neural networks.