Anne E. West, M.D., Ph.D., PI
Transcriptional Mechanisms of Activity-Dependent Synapse Development and Plasticity
In the West lab we study the molecular mechanisms and biological consequences of stimulus-regulated transcription in the CNS. The brain is a highly adaptable organ that is capable of converting environmental information into changes in neuronal function. Transcriptional regulators play an essential role in this process by transducing synaptic activity into changes in the regulation of neuronal gene expression programs that are required for the formation, maturation, and plasticity of synapses.
We use molecular genetic model systems, sophisticated behavioral analyses, biochemical and cell biological methods, and high-throughput sequencing techniques to elucidate the mechanisms by which transcriptional regulatory proteins promote neuronal adaptations to changes in the environment. In addition to enhancing understanding of normal brain development and plasticity, our studies are revealing new insights into how dysregulation of gene transcription contributes to cognitive impairment and mental illness.