Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Our work focuses on using a genetic approach to dissect the molecular mechanisms of electrical signaling in the nervous system. We have isolated a number of mutations in Drosphila that perturb nerve impulses or synaptic transmission and we have analyzed these mutations using genetic, electrophysiological, histological, and molecular techniques. These studies have generated novel information about the structure, function, and regulation of key proteins such as ion channels and proteins required for neurotransmitter release. We are now using the same strategy to investigate the molecular mechanisms that regulate synaptic growth and plasticity as well as those required to maintain normal neuronal viability.