Our laboratory is interested in the basic function, plasticity and modulation of Central Nervous System synapses, including studies of the detailed structure and protein content of synapses in different plastic states. We also have a strong interest in the pathophysiology in Alzheimer’s disease as related to the functions of endocannabinoids. We use primarily electrophysiogical techniques along with high-resolution array tomographic imaging to dissect the function of synapses undergoing changes due either to external stimuli, disease states or internal modulation, with an eye to understanding how those changes may affect behavior and memory.
Recent projects in the laboratory include a study of the role of the amyloid peptide A-beta in modulating synaptic inhibition through an action on the endogenous cannabinoid system of the hippocampus; the role of the Fragile X mental retardation protein in the formation of neural circuits; an array tomographic study on the influence of synaptic plasticity on the number of synapses made in neural microcircuits; and the localization of AMPA receptor subunits in different states of plasticity.
Studies in the lab are carried out using a full range of electrophysiological techniques including extracellular field potential recording, intracellular recording, and whole cell and single channel recording in hippocampal slices and cultured neurons. In addition we utilize high resolution imaging of synaptically connected pairs of neurons using array tomography.