Dept.: Professor, Department of Biological Structure
Neuroscience Focus Groups:
Neuronal circuits typically exhibit stereotypic wiring patterns that are designed for specific functions. Our lab’s major focus is to understand the developmental mechanisms that shape synaptic connectivity in the central nervous system, using the vertebrate retina as our model system.
We have developed and applied cellular and synaptic labels to visualize circuits in vivo and in vitro, largely through biolistics and transgenic approaches. Correlative fluorescence and serial electron microscopy enables us to map identified synaptic connections onto individual neurons. Both normal and perturbed cell function are probed using electrophysiological techniques including whole-cell and multielectrode array recordings. We are currently investigating the cellular mechanisms and developmental strategies that establish excitatory and inhibitory circuits in the mammalian retina. By taking advantage of the zebrafish’s capacity to regenerate neurons, we are also determining how newly-generated neurons integrate into existing circuitry.