My goal is to obtain a mechanistic, soup-to-nuts understanding of how synapses are built, how synapses contribute to information processing by neural circuits, and ultimately how synapses and neural circuits give rise to learning and memory.
- Bachelor of Science, BS, BROWN UNIVERSITY
- Doctor of Philosophy, DBIOP, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKE
- Doctor of Medicine, MD, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SAN F
My research explores the molecular machinery that contributes to the information-processing capabilities of the nervous system, with a focus on the regulation and function of synaptic transmission. I use an interdisciplinary approach to address research questions, drawing upon my training and experience in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, electrophysiology, biophysics and genetics. We have focused on the molecular machinery that contributes to the establishment and function of synapses in the model organism C. elegans. In studies of cholinergic synapses, we have identified components of a conserved Wnt-signaling pathway that regulates the translocation, and thus number, of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. In studies of glutamatergic synapses, we have identified evolutionarily conserved auxiliary proteins that contribute to the function of ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPARs), leading to a new concept of an AMPAR signaling complex. In addition, we study the trafficking and transport of AMPARs, and have found that kinesin-1 microtubules-dependent motors have a fundamental role in the delivery, removal and redistribution of synaptic AMPARs. In summary, my research explores the molecular machinery that contributes to synaptic function, communication between neurons, and neuronal circuits.