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Research

Research Interest:

Astrocytes contribute to nearly all  facets of ‘normal’ central nervous system (CNS) physiology, including regulation of neurotransmitters and K+ ions concentration, synaptic development, and synapse stabilization. These functions are largely mediated at distal, fine, peripheral astrocyte processes (PAPs).  In fact, in the human brain, a single astrocyte may enwrap nearly 1 million synapses.  Research in our lab is aimed at better understanding the function of the astrocyte function in the PAPs in the context of healthy development and aging and disease.

Current Projects:

Ongoing questions in the laboratory:

  1. Are there specific environmental cues in the developing brain that facilitate astrocyte maturation?
  2. How are astrocyte processes recruited to  active or mature synapses?
  3. Is astrocyte recruitment/function  at the synapse disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders?
  4. How does aging and neurological disease affect the function of astrocyte at the synapse?

Technical Approaches:

Using mouse and rat transgenics as well as clinically relevant disease models we employ:

  • astrocyte and neuronal electrophysiology
  • cellular and molecular biology, including epigenetic approaches
  • RNA sequencing and proteomics

Current Funding