Dr. B. Jill Venton
University of Virginia
October 2, 2019 (Wed.)
11:00 – 11:50 am
New analytical techniques for real-time measurements of neurotransmitters in Drosophila
Detecting neurotransmitters is important in order to understand chemical communication in the brain. The Venton lab focuses on developing microelectrode and nanoelectrode electrochemical sensors for direct sensing of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. We are now applying these sensors to make measurements of neurotransmitters in the tiny brain of Drosophila. They are a good model organism for understanding how genetic changes influence neurotransmission, but their brains are only 8 nL in volume, so they are an analytical challenge!
Dr. B. Jill Venton is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Virginia. She is also affiliated with the Neuroscience Graduate Program and the UVA Brain Institute. She received her BS in Chemistry from University of Delaware (1998), her PhD in Chemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill (with Mark Wightman, 2003), and did postdoctoral research at University of Michigan (with Bob Kennedy and Terry Robinson, 2003-2005). Dr. Venton started her career at University of Virginia in 2005, and has worked her way up the ranks to full professor and now department chair. Her research interests are in developing analytical chemistry tools for neuroscience research and her lab studies many neuroscience diseases, from Parkinson disease, to addiction, to stroke, and aging. She has published more than 80 scientific papers, has 3 patents, and has won numerous awards. Dr. Venton is also a passionate teacher and has developed new classes with active learning components for the undergraduate analytical chemistry curriculum. She also is faculty advisor for a K-5 outreach group, LEAD, and has run science education workshops for elementary teachers. At home, she has 2 young children, Philip and Johanna, who keep her busy.