Synapses and Circuits

Synapses and neuronal circuits have been a major focus of neuroscience research at OHSU for many years. An interactive group of new and established NGP faculty and their students use a variety of innovative techniques to explore the dynamics of transmitter release, receptor activation, neuronal excitation and inhibition, and how these processes drive the behavior of neuronal circuits.

Recent advances in linear and nonlinear optical microscopy, electrophysiology, and optogenetics, among other techniques, have made it possible to investigate neuronal function with a spatial and temporal accuracy previously beyond the reach of neuroscientists. Areas of intensive study include protein localization and activity-dependent trafficking, protein-protein interactions required for vesicular exocytosis, the dynamics of calcium signaling in both axons and dendrites, the role of calcium in transmitter release and the modulation of postsynaptic responses, the functional connectivity and plasticity of neuronal circuits, and the integration of circuit activity in sensory, motor and integrative systems.

For more information on NGP laboratories involved in this work, click on the links to these investigators.