Ruben’s research focuses on how neurons communicate and how dysfunction at the molecular level contributes to disruption of this communication in neurological disorders. Ruben is a PhD candidate in the Shen Lab. His current work includes investigation of synaptic vesicle regulation and synaptic specificity. Neurons largely communicate via chemical synapses. At the pre-synaptic neuron terminal, neurotransmitters are packaged in synaptic vesicles and released into the synapse to convey messages to post-synaptic neurons. The molecular mechanisms that regulate synaptic vesicle activity are crucial for the appropriate function of neural networks. Disruptions of these processes appear to be involved in a variety of neurological disorders. Ruben is investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes to better understand how neurons communicate and how molecular dysfunction might disrupt this communication. In his free time, Ruben is involved in several efforts to promote student and community mental health and well-being at Stanford and beyond. He also likes to run, hike and play ultimate frisbee.