OVERVIEW: We are a molecular and cellular neuroscience laboratory. Our goal is to understand the biochemical mechanisms that underlie normal brain functions and the pathophysiology of diseases of the CNS. We study neuronal signal transduction and aim to identify novel signaling mechanisms the mediate synaptic remodeling and regulate neuronal excitability. We focus chiefly on protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation using a multidisciplinary approach.

     Mechanisms discovered by various means including phosphoproteomics are often studied in vitro using protein biochemistry. These regulatory mechanisms are also characterized in intact brain tissue using neuropharmacological and transgenic approaches, and phosphorylation state-specific antibodies.

     The physiological function of mechanisms and their contribution to disease are frequently pursued using neurophysiology, behavioral studies, in vivo imaging, and other means. Particular focus is given to novel synaptic remodeling mechanisms that integrate Ca2+ and cAMP-dependent signaling.

     Our focus on mechanisms of synaptic remodeling supports a growing realization that many aspects of this process may represent special adaptations of the cell cycle, and as such some of the insight we are gaining into these processes also is relevant to cell cycle regulation and oncology. Linking signaling mechanisms involved in synaptic remodeling and neuronal injury to mechanisms of oncogenesis is a surprising outcome of some of our research, and is providing new perspectives on both aspects of the disease.

     This approach has proven highly productive and translational. Currently areas of focus for our research includes cognition, drug addiction, depression, neuronal injury, and neuroendocrine cancer. The links provided will take you to pages where you can read more about these.