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.

    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • host-pathogen interactions, neural-immune communications, neuroinflammation, infections, bacterial pathogenesis, organismal response to infections
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
      • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Circadian Rhythms
      • Sleep
      • Synaptic Transmission
      • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
      • Neural Network Activity
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • autonomic
      • electrophysiology
      • synaptic transmission
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor, Vollum Institute
    • Areas of interest

      • zebrafish genetics
      • electrophysiology
      • ion channel function
      • imaging
    • Appointments and titles

      • Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Representation of speech and other natural sounds in auditory cortex
      • Learning and attention-driven changes in auditory representation
      • Biological mechanisms underlying neural computations
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor Emeritus of Neurology, School of Medicine
    • Appointments and titles

      • Associate Professor, Vollum Institute
    • Areas of interest

      • basal ganglia circuit analysis
      • cortical-subcortical interactions
      • optogenetics
      • genetically engineered calcium indicators
      • two-photon calcium imaging
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Neuroethology
      • Molecular neuroscience
      • Speech and Language
      • Vocal learning
      • Central auditory processing
      • Learning and memory
      • Neurogenomics
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, School of Medicine
      • Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Brainstem circuits that process acoustic signals
      • Synaptic physiology: How do cells and synapses preserve information provided by the ear?
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor, Vollum Institute
      • Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • exocytosis and endocytosis of synaptic vesicles
      • short and long-term plasticity in the retina and brainstem
      • electrophysiology of auditory pathway
      • ribbon synapses
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor, Vollum Institute
    • Areas of interest

      • neurogenesis
      • hippocampal microcircuits
      • glutamate receptors
      • epilepsy
      • regeneration and repair
      • synaptic transmission
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor, Vollum Institute
    • Areas of interest

      • opiate desensitization and tolerance
      • receptor trafficking
      • dendrodendritic transmission
    • Appointments and titles

      • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Synaptic plasticity underlying behavioral changes in animal models of drug addiction
    • Appointments and titles

      • Associate Professor, Vollum Institute
    • Areas of interest

      • photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM)
      • two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (2PFLIM)
      • fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy
      • CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing
      • in vivo imaging of neuromodulation and subcellular signaling in awake animals
      • protein and signaling dynamics during plasticity, cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling, labeling of endogenous proteins
      • dopamine, striatum, mouse locomotion