Modifying the network of synaptic connections between neurons is thought to be the main mechanism for storing information in the brain. We are currently using novel technology, developed in the Arnold lab, to visualize and ablate synaptic connections in living organisms, allowing us to examine how the brain encodes information. We have developed novel recombinant probes known as intrabodies (or FingRs), which label synaptic proteins such as PSD95, Gephyrin and Rim with very high fidelity and without causing off-target effects. These probes can also be used to ablate their target proteins, leading to functional elimination of synapses in a fast, efficient and specific manner. In addition to our synaptic FingRs, we are developing new FingRs that recognize transmembrane, nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. We believe that these will be powerful tools for observing and manipulating a wide variety of molecular and cell biological processes in the context of living organisms.
We were awarded a Transformative R01 along with Scott Fraser and Carl Kesselman (10/2014).
We were awarded a Eureka Grant to develop new FingRs (10/2014).
We were awarded a grant from the Human Frontiers Science Program with Yves De Koninck and Oliver Griesbeck to use FingRs to probe synaptic function. (3/2014)
Postdoctoral Fellow Positions Open