Research in my lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms of synapse formation and elimination. Neuronal synapses are anatomical structures through which neurons communicate, and formation of the appropriate synapses in various brain circuits require a balance between the processes of synapse formation and elimination. Abnormal synapse density is associated with neurodevelopmental diseases, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SZ), as well as neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The long term goals of my research are:
1)To identify and characterize molecular mechanisms that regulate synapse formation, maturation, maintenance, and elimination.
2)To determine the cell types and cellular processes that mediate synapse formation and elimination.
3)To determine the behavioral domains that are affected when specific synapse populations are in excess or deficit as a result of perturbations in the processes of synapse formation and elimination.
We make heavy use of mouse genetic models in our studies. Our work utilizes a variety of molecular, cellular and behavioral techniques. Please contact any member of our lab if you are interested in our work.
Sia, GM., Clem, R. and Huganir, RL. (2013) The human language-associated gene SRPX2 regulates synapse formation and vocalization in mice.Science. 342(6161):987-91