Our lab focuses on the early development of the brainstem region, which becomes the pons, medulla, midbrain and cerebellum. We focus on physiological and morphological aspects of serotonergic (5HT) neurons, which in the adult regulate mood, sleep and behavior. In the developing hindbrain, spontaneous waves occur that require serotonergic receptor signaling, and modulation of that signaling alters expression of the serotonergic phenotype. Using intracellular calcium imaging and patch clamp techniques, immunocytochemistry, and tissue culture techniques, we are exploring the functional development of serotonergic neurons in wildtype and transgenic animals. We find that over very short developmental periods (12-24 hours), the expression of voltage-gated ion channels and the consequent propagation of waves of spontaneous activity change dramatically. We are interested in how these changes modify the development of neuromodulatory neurons of the brainstem.
Dr. Bosma attended McGill University in Montreal as an undergraduate in Neurobiology and Comparative Physiology, and then obtained her Ph.D. in the Physiology Department at UCLA. After post-doctoral work on modulation of ion channels in the laboratory of Dr. Bertil Hille (Physiology and Biophysics, UW) and mutagenesis of ion channels in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Tempel (Pharmacology, UW), she joined the faculty of the Zoology (now Biology) Department here at UW.