Susan B. Udin PhD

Susan Udin

Susan B. Udin
PhD

Professor of Physiology

Department of Physiology and Biophysics

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Specialty/Research Focus

Neurobiology

Contact Information
553 Biomedical Res. Building
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: (716) 829-3571
sudin@buffalo.edu



Professional Summary:

My research is aimed at determining how nerve cells establish appropriate connections during the development and regeneration of axonal connections. In recent years, my work has focused on the role of glutamate receptors in the development and regeneration of connections between the spinal cord and the muscle at the neuromuscular junction. Under normal conditions, each muscle fiber is innervated by a single nerve fiber, and Dr. Kirk Personius and I have demonstrated that glutamate receptors are integral to these processes. Until our work, this transmitter system had never been examined as a contributing factor. We now are exploring the mechanisms by which glutamate influences these important events.

For many years prior to this work, I studied related questions in a very different system. My work focused on how early visual input influences the formation of topographic binocular connections in the midbrain optic tectum of the frog, Xenopus laevis. The relay for visual input from each eye to the ipsilateral tectum, is a tegmental structure called the nucleus isthmi. The axons from this structure are guided to the optic tectum by unknown non-visual processes, but within the tectum, their final connections are completely dependent on the visual input coming from the 2 eyes. Only if both eyes are open, optically normal and exposed simultaneously to patterned input, will the isthomotectal projection form a map of the ipsilateral eye‘s field which is in proper topographic registration with the contralateral eye‘s field. Absence of visual input during development prevents the isthmic axons from terminating in a topographically organized way, and strabismus causes the isthmic axons to form an orderly but abnormal map which is in register with the map from the misaligned eye. The NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) glutamate receptor is essential to this process, and the transmitters acetylcholine and GABA also are being investigated for their roles in control of plasticity.

The techniques that have been used in these experiments include extracellular electrophysiological recording methods, immunocytochemistry, electron microscopy, calcium imaging, receptor binding, whole-cell patch-clamping, knockdown techniques to control activation of transmitter systems, and anatomical tracing methods.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1975)
  • BS, Biophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1969)

Employment:

  • Adjunct Professor, Communicative Disorders & Sciences, State University of New York Faculty of Social Sciences (1994-present)
  • Professor, Physiology, State University of New York Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (1992-present)
  • Associate Professor, Physiology, State University of New York Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (1985–1992)
  • Assistant Professor, Physiology, State University of New York Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (1979–1985)

Research Expertise:

  • Anatomical tracing of connectivity: Use of anterograde tracers such as fluorescent dextrans to trace axon morphology and fluorescent microspheres to trace neuronal connectivity.
  • Calcium imaging: Use of calcium sensitive probes to determine the responses of components of the brain to melatonin, GABA, and glutamate.
  • Extracellular electrophysiology: Recording of visual activity in the CNS of amphibians and fish; patch-clamp recording in slices.
  • Immunohistochemistry

UB 2020 Strategic Strengths:

  • Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • September 2020–February 2022
    Improving function after peripheral nerve injury
    SUNY Research Seed Grant Program
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $22,500
  • January 2021–December 2021
    Role of NANOG in improving function after peripheral nerve injury
    SUNY CTSI Translational Pilot Studies Program
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $41,168
  • July 2005–June 2010
    UB Vision Infrastructure Center
    NIH
    Role: Contributor
    $750,000
  • February 2001–January 2006
    Melatonin’s role in tectal physiology and plasticity
    National Eye Institute
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $475,000
  • September 1999–June 2003
    Choline as a nicotinic agonist in the optic tectum of frogs
    Whitehall Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $156,000
  • May 1996–December 1997
    Patch-clamp studies of cholinergic transmission in the tectum
    NSF
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $31,560
  • July 1994–March 1997
    Optic Tectum: Cholinergic Mechanisms
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $329,779
  • August 1996–September 1996
    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the developing visual system of Xenopus
    Sigma Xi
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $500
  • October 1993–September 1996
    NCAM exprerssion and plasticity in Xenopus tectum
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $72,900
  • July 1991–March 1996
    Effect of Visual Experience on CNS Connectivity-4
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,106,965
  • July 1991–June 1993
    Role of Glutamate Receptors in the Development of Orderly Binocular Connections-2
    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $70,000
  • July 1989–June 1991
    Role of Glutamate Receptors in the Development of Orderly Binocular Connections
    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $52,000
  • July 1986–June 1991
    Effect of Visual Experience on CNS Connectivity-3
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $522,000
  • August 1989–July 1990
    Predoctoral Graduate Research Training Fellowship for Warren J. Scherer
    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $12,000
  • July 1983–June 1986
    Effect of Visual Experience on CNS Connectivity-2
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $256,098
  • July 1983–June 1985
    Effects of Abnormal Visual Experience on Developing Neurons
    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $44,000
  • July 1980–June 1983
    Effect of Visual Experience on CNS Connectivity
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $179,458
  • July 1982–August 1982
    Burroughs-Wellcome Travel Grant -2
    Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $800
  • February 1980–June 1981
    Effects of Visual Experience on Development of Brain Connections
    New York State Health Research Council
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $15,000
  • January 1981–February 1981
    Travel Grant for Visit to Hungary
    National Academy of Sciences
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,500
  • June 1980–July 1980
    Burroughs-Wellcome Travel Grant
    Burroughs-Wellcome Trust
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $650
See all (11 more)

Journal Articles:

See all (82 more)

Abstracts:

  • Susan Udin. (1978) Retinotectal compression in the hamster: a quantitative study with horseradish peroxidase [proceedings]. (Jan) 47-48

Professional Memberships:

  • Women In Neuroscience; Advocacy organization for women in the Society for Neuroscience (1981–present)
  • Association for Women in Science (1979–present)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science; professional organization for advancement of science and dissemination of scientific information (1979–present)
  • Society for Neuroscience (1976–present)
  • Sigma Xi; Advocacy for science; promotion of science education and research (1974–present)

Presentations:

  • "Role of Experience in the Formation of Binocular Maps in Xenopus Frogs" SUNY at Buffalo, Vision Group seminar series (2016)
  • "Role of glutamate in formation of nerve connections" Buffalo Vision Group; Buffalo Veterans' Hospital (2016)
  • "Vision shapes the brain: binocular connections in the Xenopus tectum" Ludwig-Maximilians Universität; ; Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (2010)
  • "Circuits and transmitters: how binocular maps form" SUNY at Buffalo, Cognitive Sciences Program Seminar (2009)
  • "Vision shapes the brain: binocular connections in the Xenopus tectum" Anatomy Department, University of Hong Kong; University of Hong Kong (2008)
  • "Very, very slow eye movements" Oculomotor Control, Gordon Conference; Gordon Conference; Other models (2007)
  • "Binocular development in Xenopus tectum" Biology Department, Cleveland State University (2007)
  • "Development and Plasticity of Binocular Maps in the Isthmotectal System" Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting; Influencing and Interpreting Visual Input: The Role of a Visual Feedback System; Mini-symposium (2006)
  • "Development and Plasticity of Binocular Maps in the Isthmotectal System" Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting; Society for Neuroscience; Mini-symposium on “Influencing and Interpreting (2006)
  • "Role of glutamate in binocular map formation" SUNY at Buffalo, Cognitive Sciences Program Seminar Series (2006)
  • "Visual experience shapes the brain: Binocular maps in the developing Xenopus tectum" Humboldt University Seminar Series; Humboldt University; Institute of Theoretical Biology (2006)
  • "Visual experience shapes the brain: Binocular maps in the developing Xenopus tectum" Bernstein Colloquium; Technische Universitat; Department of Physics (2006)
  • "Visual experience shapes the brain: Binocular maps in the developing Xenopus tectum" Biology Department Seminar Series; Washington University; Biology Department (2006)
  • "Activity and map formation in the tectum" SUNY at Buffalo, Cognitive Sciences Program Seminar Series (2000)
  • "Melatonin: A Shot in the Dark" Symposium in Honor of J. Y. Lettvin; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Biology Department (2000)
  • "Brain Research in the Millenium" Rose and Al Paster Distinguished Lecture Series; State University of New York (1999)
  • "Binocular map formation in Xenopus tectum" Biology Department Seminar, Canisius College (1998)
  • "The environment shapes the brain: The influence of visual experience on formation of neuronal connections during development" Summer Institute in Cognitive Science; State University of New York (1994)
  • "Coping with variations in development: Matching the brain to the environment" Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting; Society for Neuroscience; Sensory Systems Social (1993)
  • "Activity and neural map formation" SUNY at Buffalo, Cognitive Sciences Program (1993)
  • "Activity-mediated remodeling of binocular connections in the tectum of Xenopus frogs" Plenary Session: Postembryonic modeling of neurons and circuits; Third International Congress of Neuroethology (1992)
  • "Role of Experience in the Formation of Binocular Maps in Xenopus Frogs" SUNY at Buffalo, Center for Cognitive Sciences (1992)
  • "Role of Experience in the Formation of Binocular Maps in Xenopus Frogs" SUNY at Buffalo, Department of Biochemical Pharmacology (1992)
  • "The role of the toad's nucleus isthmi in prey-catching behavior" Second Symposium on Visuomotor Coordination in Frogs and; National Autonomous University of Mexico; Second Symposium on Visuomotor Coordination in F (1992)
  • "The role of NMDA receptors in development of orderly binocular connections in Xenopu" ; Keystone Symposia (1992)
  • "NMDA Receptors and Intertectal Plasticity in Xenopus" Symposium in honor of R. M. Gaze upon his retirement; University of Edinburgh (1991)
  • "The role of the NMDA receptor in binocular development" Third Meeting in Neural Development; Columbia University (1991)
  • "Restoring Neural Plasticity with NMDA" Ophthalmology Research Symposium; State University of New York (1990)
  • "The NMDA receptor and binocular maps in the optic tectum" Symposium on “Activity-Driven Synaptic Changes in Learning and Development”; State University of New York (1990)
  • "The NMDA receptor and binocular convergence in the optic tectum" Symposium on “The Role of Activity on Development of the Visual System”; Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (1989)
  • "The role of visual experience in the formation of binocular connections from the nucleus isthmi in the frog" Meetings In Neural Development; Columbia University (1986)
  • "Role of Experience in the Formation of Binocular Maps in Xenopus Frogs" Seminar series, Dept. of Anatomical Sciences, SUNY Buffalo (1986)
  • "Role of Experience in the Formation of Binocular Maps in Xenopus Frogs" Department of Biophysical Sciences Seminar series (1986)
  • "Isthmotectal circuitry" Conference on Principles of Axon Development; Rockefeller University; The Neurosciences Institute (1985)
  • "The role of visual experience in the formation of binocular projections in frog" Symposium on Activity-Dependent Synaptic Changes; SUNY (1984)
  • "The role of visual input on the formation of orderly connections in the frog's brain" Ninth Symposium on Ocular and Visual Development; Temple University and Pennsylvania College of Optometry (1984)
  • "Preliminary observations on the morphology of developing isthmo-tectal axons" Developmental Neurobiology; FASEB Summer Research Conference (1983)
  • "Role of activity in formation of binocular maps" Department of Cell and Molecular Biology colloquium, Roswell Park Memorial Inst. (1983)
  • "Isthmotectal plasticity" Conference on Retinotectal Connections; Rockefeller University; The Neurosciences Institute (1982)
  • "Development of orderly connections between the NI and the tectum in Xenopus" Symposium on Visuomotor Coordination in Frogs; University of Massachusetts (1981)
  • "Competition and Plasticity in Amphibians" Retinotectal Connections Symposium; ; Neuroscience Research Program (1979)
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Service Activities:

  • CSR Peer Review Strategies and Best Practices Study;; External Reviewer (2018)
  • Neural Oxidative Metabolism, Mitochondria and Cell Death;; External Reviewer (2016–present)
  • Women in Neuroscience Miriam Salpter Lifetime Acheivement Award Committee Award committee; Reviewer (2004–present)
  • Search Committee for Director of Center for Cognitive Sciences; Member (2003–2004)
  • Ad hoc Committee on Promotions to Unqualified Rank Medical school promotions committee; Chair (2002–present)
  • Reviewers Reserve;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (1990–1994)
  • Visual Sciences B;; Grant Reviewer (1986–1990)
  • Visual Sciences B;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (1985)
  • Sample Committee
  • Visual Sciences B; Outside reviewer;; Ad Hoc Reviewer

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Contact Information

553 Biomedical Res. Building
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: (716) 829-3571
sudin@buffalo.edu