Synaptic Plasticity and Learning

In order to accommodate the changing world an animal experiences, it must be able to learn about and remember aspects of its environment.
Learning and memory require adaptive changes in the strength of communication between neurons, a property known as synaptic plasticity.
Members of the Synaptic Plasticity and Learning group study the mechanisms of activity-dependent changes in synaptic communication as well as behavioral aspects of learning and memory. This research area includes the function of brain regions involved in learning and memory, changes in the activity of neurons as animals learn, alterations in synaptic plasticity in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, the plastic responses of the nervous system in injury and disease, the plasticity of the developing nervous system, and investigations of the molecular mechanisms of long-term changes in synaptic protein structure and function. A variety of techniques and approaches are used in these studies, including imaging, electrophysiology, behavioral analyses, molecular genetics, pharmacology, and developmental studies.