The research program in my laboratory is designed to address two important issues in developmental neurobiology.
1) The role of postsynaptic receptor modulation, during synaptic development.
2) The role of presynaptic receptors in synaptic development.
The synapse is the site of contact between two neurons (nerve cells), or between a neuron and a target cell. Information transfer takes place between these pairs of cells via chemical or electrical synaptic transmission. The vast majority of synapses in the CNS are chemical in nature, and it is at these types of synapses that the major forms of synaptic plasticity and modulation take place. During chemical synaptic transmission, neurotransmitters, released from the presynaptic cell, cross the synaptic cleft and bind to (and activate) receptors on the postsynaptic cell membrane. We are interested in determining if the activity of presynaptic receptors is important for the release of neurotransmitters during the formation of synapses. Similarly, is the modulation of postsynaptic receptors important for the proper formation of synapses?