The goal of my research is to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurological diseases (i.e. Alzheimer‘s disease, autism spectrum disorders, or schizophrenia) that are caused by various forms of synaptic dysfunctions. To better understand how synaptic genes associated with those neurological disorders impact brain functions in the synaptic, cellular and systemic levels, we have aspired to alter the activity of specific neuronal circuits and to evaluate the consequences on pathology, network activity, and animal behaviors. To achieve our research goals, we are using a combination of protein biochemistry, cell imaging, electrophysiology and mouse genetics. Three research projects are currently ongoing in my laboratory. First, we are investigating how mutations of synaptic genes observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, or epilepsy alter various aspects of synaptic functions. Second, we are studying molecular and cellular mechanisms through which synapses are formed and eliminated in normal development and/or pathological conditions. Third, we are exploring the role of specific synaptic signaling proteins in maintaining the excitation-to-inhibition balance at synapses and associated neural circuits.
Advisor Professor : Um, Ji Won Laboratory of Synapse Disorder Homepage