|886-6 235-3535 ext 5498 / 5478
|RESEARCH INTERESTS :
Activity-dependent long-lasting changes in the efficacy of synaptic transmission play an important role in the development of neural circuits and are thought to mediate many forms of learning and memory formation processes. The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms by which these changes occur will have profound implications for understanding many important nervous system functions including how future behavior is modified by past environmental experience. Past work from my laboratory has demonstrated that there are a variety of related but mechanistically distinct forms of synaptic plasticity. A major goal of my laboratory is to elucidate both the specific molecular events that are responsible for the triggering of these various forms of synaptic plasticity and the exact modifications in synaptic proteins that are responsible for the observed, long-lasting changes of synaptic efficacy. To accomplish this, we use a combination of electrophysiological and molecular techniques to investigate synaptic plasticity in a variety of different in vitro preparations including thin slices of various regions of the rodent brain and primary culture neurons. Much of the current work in the laboratory is focused on how stress affects the induction of long-term synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus.
A related area of research in my laboratory is the elucidation of the synaptic modulation of drugs of abuse such as cocaine. Toward this end, we have developed in vitro slice preparations of the medial prefrontal cortex, brain region which is thought to mediate several of the behavioral effects of drugs of abuse. We are currently using a variety of electrophysiological and biochemical techniques with the hope of determining how acute and chronic exposure to drugs of abuse modifies synaptic and circuit function in this brain area. The long-term alteration of synaptic plasticity may have a role in modulation of neural circuitry that underlies the development of cocaine sensitization and addiction.
|MAJOR TECHNIQUES :
|Electrophysiology (including extracellular, intracellular and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings), Brain slices, Tissue slice culture, Microscopy, Immunohistochemistry, Immunoblotting assay, Molecular Biology.
|Neurophysiology, Neuropharmacology, Cell Biology, and Signaling Transduction
|RECENT PUBLICATIONS :