Eduardo Rosa-Molinar's is a senior scientist and director of the Microscopy and Analytical Imaging Resources Core Laboratory (MAI). His appointment is equally divided between that of director of MAI and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.
Rosa-Molinar brings to the MAI experience in successfully administering research projects (i.e., hiring and managing staff, managing regulatory issues [animal and human use and experimentation; laboratory and chemical safety], developing balanced and fiscally responsible budgets), collaborating with other researchers, developing research grant proposals, and in writing and peer-reviewing publications and extended abstracts. As a result of prior administrative experience, he is aware of the importance of frequent communication among project members and of constructing a realistic development plan, timeline, and budget.
As a faculty member, his research goal is to decipher a “gap-junction-coupled motor pattern-generating neural microcircuit” that consists of a small number of gap-junction-coupled neurons forming unique patterns, underlies an innate behavior, is usually inflexible and is triggered by a stimulus.
Serving as principal investigator (PI), co-PI, participant, or collaborator of university and National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded competitive grant awards assisted him in laying and continuing to build the foundation required to achieve his long-term research and MAI bio-technology resource goal by:
- developing new functional nano-materials that span spatial domains from sub-nanometer to microns
- enhancing existing and developing new methods to use those nano-materials to selectively label neural cells and the protein network that constitutes the cytomatrix at the pre-synaptic and post -synaptic active zone of “mixed” synapses, a juxtaposition of chemical and electrical (i.e., gap junction) synaptic components associated with the identifiable neurons
- improving existing and developing new tissue contrast reagents and techniques
- developing imaging methods for high-resolution three-dimensional (3-D) photon-based and high-throughput 3-D electron-based microscopies to collect and disseminate 3-D teravoxel or petavoxel image data
- testing computer algorithms that can reveal complex patterns and relationships
- using as a “reference species” the adult Western Mosquitofish Gambusia affinis (Mosquitofish), a species that has unique advantages and is ideally suited for “mapping” a gap-junction-coupled motor pattern-generating neural microcircuit and for testing and refining novel tools and methods. I develop quantitative immuno-correlative photon- and electron-based imaging technologies required to image and analyze in 3-D the nano-scale membrane organization of mixed synapses’ pre-and post-synaptic membrane proteins.
The above-described approaches have resulted in productive research projects in an area of high relevance: finding wiring diagrams that underlie simple behaviors and seeing how the wiring diagrams differ among individuals. Deciphering a “gap-junction-coupled motor pattern-generating neural microcircuit” that underlies an innate behavior will assist in understanding what accounts for individual and sex differences in innate behavior and how, over time, such as in aging, wiring diagrams and innate behavior change. In summary, his expertise and experience have prepared him to design and lead the research projects underway in his laboratory at the University of Kansas.