Mechanisms of functional recovery following CNS injury
Dynamics of synapse formation and maintenance
In the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), the flexibility of neuronal functional properties and anatomical connectivity diminish as development concludes. As the limited capacity for plasticity in the mature CNS impedes recovery from both childhood neurologic disorders as well as CNS injury, understanding how plasticity is regulated has significant therapeutic potential. My research explores the genes and mechanisms that mediate this transition from robust plasticity in the developing CNS to more restricted plasticity in the mature CNS. The lab uses a combination of genetics, electrophysiology, and in vivo imaging to study plasticity in the developing visual system as well as recovery following CNS injury. Our goal is to devise interventions that acutely enhance plasticity in the CNS to promote more efficient and complete restitution of function from a broad range of childhood and adult neurologic disorders such as amblyopia (lazy eye), autism, and spinal cord injury.