Our research is focused on molecular and supramolecular structures that facilitate communication between neurons at the chemical synapse and how such structures are perturbed in neurological disease. We are particularly interested in the architectural arrangement of signaling molecules and enzymes, and characterizing the ways in which such molecular assemblies are formed and undergo changes during synaptic transmission and modulation. Our approach is to investigate individual proteins using x-ray and electron crystallographic methods and to combine this information with EM images obtained via 3-D reconstruction of supramolecular assemblies and tomographic analysis of the intact chemical synapse. Our long-term goal is to construct a dynamic molecular and architectural map for the chemical synapse that will help to understand synaptic formation, transmission and plasticity
MCDB 3651 - The Brain: Dysfunction to Disease
Misregulation of synaptic function results in abnormal brain function and behavior that is manifested in numerous neurological and psychiatric diseases. Explores the molecular mechanisms responsible for altered synaptic plasticity in neurological diseases such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Down syndrome, epilepsy, autism, and Alzheimer's disease. Recommended prerequisites: MCDB 3650 or NRSC 2100 (minimum grade C-) or instructor consent required.
MCDB 6000 - Introduction to Laboratory Methods
Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
Introduces methodology and techniques used in biological research. Designed as a tutorial between a few students and one faculty member. Students are expected to read original research papers, discuss findings, and to plan and execute experiments in selected areas. Open only to MCDB graduate students. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours.