May 26, 2023
Seth traveled to Dublin on a particularly special trip this week: his first visit to Tamara Boto's lab at Trinity College Dublin.
Dr. Boto was the first postdoc in the Tomchik lab, joining just after the lab opened in 2013. She carried out a series of outstanding studies in the lab. Her first paper, published in Current Biology in 2014 demonstrated that individual dopaminergic circuits drive compartmentalized increases in cAMP in Kenyon cells, neurons that are involved in memory formation in Drosophila. Further, pairing activation of dopaminergic neurons with odors altered the calcium responses of the Kenyon cells to odors in a manner similar to learning. Her recent studies revealed that different subsets of dopaminergic neurons play unique roles in learning, specifically revealing a behavioral and physiological role of a specific set of dopaminergic neurons in modulating salience during memory formation.
Following completion of her postdoctoral training, Tamara joined the Department of Physiology at the Trinity College Dublin School of Medicine. Despite starting her position at the peak of the COVID-19 lockdowns, she is off to an amazing start and is making us all proud. Seth visited the lab on May 26 while in town for a seminar; it was awesome to see everything rolling in person and meet her students and colleagues. The seminar contained much of her research, showing the influence of her research continues on the field and our lab's direction.
It was also amazing to see Trinity College Dublin, the city itself, and all of the history in the area. When Tamara made the decision to accept the Trinity offer (among several), we printed her the nicest picture we could find from the internet of the Long Room at the Old Library - visiting such a storied institution and its historical artifacts in person is a cool experience.