Dr. Dwight E. Bergles is a professor in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He serves as Director for the Multiphoton Imaging Core facility at JHU, Co-Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program and has been a faculty member in the Neurobiology Course at the MBL.
Dr. Bergles received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston University and Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Physiology from Stanford University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Vollum Institute in Portland Oregon before joining the faculty at Hopkins in 2000 as assistant professor. He was promoted to professor in 2011. The goals of Dr. Bergles’s laboratory are to understand how neurons and glial cells interact at synapses, and how glial cells contribute to CSN repair and disease progression. His studies have included analysis of glutamate transporter function in astrocytes, ATP release from glial cells in the developing cochlea, and the development and dysfunction of oligodendroglia.
As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Bergles discovered that a distinct class of glial progenitor cells in the CNS known as “oligodendrocyte precursor cells” or “NG2+ cells” form direct synapses with neurons. This remains the only known example of glial cell innervation. As a faculty member at JHU, he has continued to study the behavior of NG2+ cells, using a variety of electrophysiological, imaging and genetic approaches. To gain insight into the biology of these enigmatic glial cells, his group developed new lines of transgenic mice that enable visualization and manipulation of NG2+ cells and their oligodendrocyte progeny in vivo, as well as mice in which NG2+ cells can be selectively deleted from the adult brain. These tools are providing new insight into the behavior and function of these ubiquitous progenitors in both health and disease.