Harold Mac Gillavry received a VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This grant of 800,000 euros enables researchers to set up their research group and develop their innovative line of research.
With this grant, Harold MacGillavry and his team will study how neuronal synapses are built at the molecular level. Synapses are the connections between nerve cells, where signals are transmitted from one cell to the other. Synapses are incredibly small, more than a hundred times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, but are highly complex and dynamic structures composed of a large variety of molecular components.
His team uses innovative single-molecule microscopy technologies to visualize how these components are assembled in individual, living synapses. With the VIDI grant, his group will further develop these experimental approaches to visualize the dynamic behavior of lipids in neuronal synapses. Lipids are essential building blocks of synapses, but in contrast to proteins, we know little about how different types of lipids are organized in synapses, and how lipid composition contributes to neuronal signaling is largely unknown. Ultimately, the goal is to understand how molecular components of synapses are assembled to efficiently control neuronal signaling.