Interview with Daichi Kamayama and Melissa Inal

November 6, 2019

by Carol Lynn Alpert

Carol Lynn had a phone meeting this month with Kner lab collaborators Daichi Kamiyama and Melissa Inal in order to get a better understanding of their their research into neuromuscular junctions in fruit flies.  Daichi said that he is investigating the growth of synapses and their connections because they are important and not well understood.  Poor synapse development seems to be implicated in a variety of neurological and development disorders, including Down syndrome, Alzheimers disease, and even schizophrenia.  With help from Peter and Abhijit, Daichi hopes to understand how filopedia develop out of growth cones, how synapses form from filopedia, how neurotransmitters might get released from the filopodia, and how proteins are distributed inside the filopedia.  Peter and Abhijit are able to provide precise 2D imaging data. The biggest challenge is sample labelling, although they have made progress.  Daichi revealed that he is the “grandson” of STORM pioneer Xiaowei Zhang – meaning that he studied under Xiaowei’s postdoc Bo Huang at UCSF, and had his own STORM set-up there. Bo Huang is known as “the inventor” of 3D STORM and Daichi has published joint papers with him.

Sue Shi

In other news, the film of The 2019 Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition has been released, and is available for viewing at  Brown graduate student Sue Shi won first prize for her talk on developing quantum dots for solar power harvesting.