Barry G. Condron


  • BS, University College
  • Postdoc, California Institute of Technology

Primary Appointment

  • Associate Professor, Biology


Research Interest(s)

Regulation and Function Serotonergic Neurons During Development

Research Description

Serotonin is an important modulator in the brain and is associated with a wide range of physiological functions including development. The exact mechanisms whereby serotonin influences brain development are not well understood. Studies in invertebrate and vertebrate model organisms are beginning to unravel a regulatory role for serotonin in neuronal morphology and circuit formation. Growing evidence suggests that alterations in early serotonin signaling contribute to a number of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and depression. Thus, understanding how altered serotonin signaling affects neuronal morphology and plasticity, and ultimately animal physiology and pathophysiology, will be of great significance. Our research focuses on the function of serotonin in the regulation of serotonergic neuronal development itself and that of other neurons. We use a range of techniques but especially high-resolution imaging of neuronal structures and quantitative analysis of this data. Using this approach and in conjunction with HHMI/Janelia Farm we have begun to establish an atlas of all neuronal structures in a part of the fly CNS and to develop software to analyze their structures. Serotonin levels in the brain are critical for function and are dependent on both the structure and function of serotonergic neurons. Serotonergic neurons deploy a wide array of varicosities from which serotonin is thought to be released. Our lab is interested in how the underlying branch structures for these neurons form, how varicosities deploy throughout the CNS and how these structures are sensitive to serotonin levels in health and disease. In conjunction with Jill Venton's lab in the Chemistry department, we have begun to examine the physiology of serotonin release. Finally, we have identified a sensory-motor circuit whose morphology is regulated by serotonin and will use this to examine how serotonergic architecture influences the function of this modulator.

We have developed spatial information for all or most neurons of the larval abdominal ganglia and are working in conjunction with HHMI/Janelia to have each genetically tagged. We are currently finishing tracing these neurons and plan to integrate them into a 'virtual ganglion' or an electronic version of one fly ganglion that will contain all neurons. This will be very useful in both identifying new morphological targets of serotonin as well as generating a realistic spatial model in which we can simulate serotonin function.

Selected Publications

  • Mukherjee S, Condron B, Acton S. Tubularity flow field--a technique for automatic neuron segmentation. IEEE transactions on image processing : a publication of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. 2014;24(1): 374-89. PMID: 25494506
  • Basu S, Condron B, Aksel A, Acton S. Segmentation and tracing of single neurons from 3D confocal microscope images. IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics. 2012;17(2): 319-35. PMID: 22835569
  • Daubert E, Condron B. A solid-phase immunostaining protocol for high-resolution imaging of delicate structures in the Drosophila larval central nervous system (CNS). CSH protocols. 2011;2007 pdb.prot4771. PMID: 21357109
  • Borue X, Condron B, Venton B. Both synthesis and reuptake are critical for replenishing the releasable serotonin pool in Drosophila. Journal of neurochemistry. 2010;113(1): 188-99. PMID: 20070864 | PMCID: PMC2860618
  • Daubert E, Heffron D, Mandell J, Condron B. Serotonergic dystrophy induced by excess serotonin. Molecular and cellular neurosciences. 2010;44(3): 297-306. PMID: 20394820 | PMCID: PMC2878889
  • Borue X, Cooper S, Hirsh J, Condron B, Venton B. Quantitative evaluation of serotonin release and clearance in Drosophila. Journal of neuroscience methods. 2009;179(2): 300-8. PMID: 19428541 | PMCID: PMC2691387
  • Vickrey T, Condron B, Venton B. Detection of endogenous dopamine changes in Drosophila melanogaster using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. Analytical chemistry. 2009;81(22): 9306-13. PMID: 19842636 | PMCID: PMC2876717
  • A freeware java tool for spatial point analysis of neuronal structures. Neuroinformatics. 2008;6(1): 57-61. PMID: 18350260
  • Chen J, Condron B. Branch architecture of the fly larval abdominal serotonergic neurons. Developmental biology. 2008;320(1): 30-8. PMID: 18561908 | PMCID: PMC2610461
  • Min V, Condron B. An assay of behavioral plasticity in Drosophila larvae. Journal of neuroscience methods. 2005;145(1): 63-72. PMID: 15922026 | PMCID: PMC2882685
  • Sykes P, Condron B. Development and sensitivity to serotonin of Drosophila serotonergic varicosities in the central nervous system. Developmental biology. 2005;286(1): 207-16. PMID: 16122730 | PMCID: PMC2896038
  • Sykes P, Norman H, Condron B. Variation in serotonergic and dopaminergic neuronal survival in the central nervous system of adult Drosophila. Cell and tissue research. 2004;317(3): 327-31. PMID: 15322910
  • Gene expression is required for correct axon guidance. Current biology : CB. 2002;12(19): 1665-9. PMID: 12361569
  • Couch J, Condron B. Axon guidance: Comm hither, Robo. Current biology : CB. 2002;12(21): R741-2. PMID: 12419206
  • Serotonergic neurons transiently require a midline-derived FGF signal. Neuron. 1999;24(3): 531-40. PMID: 10595507
  • Spatially discrete FGF-mediated signalling directs glial morphogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England). 1999;126(20): 4635-41. PMID: 10498697
  • Condron B, Zinn K. The grasshopper median neuroblast is a multipotent progenitor cell that generates glia and neurons in distinct temporal phases. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 1994;14(10): 5766-77. PMID: 7931543
  • Patel N, Condron B, Zinn K. Pair-rule expression patterns of even-skipped are found in both short- and long-germ beetles. Nature. 1994;367(6462): 429-34. PMID: 8107801