Prof. Castillo Pablo E.
Synaptic transmission underlies every aspect of nervous system function. How we think, feel, act and learn, all rely on information transfer between nerve cells. In addition, synapses are extremely dynamic, and activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength are essential to most forms of learning. It is becoming increasingly clear that synaptic dysfunction is central to the etiology and progression of a wide range of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. The main goal of my research program is to understand the cellular and molecular basis of activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength at both excitatory and inhibitory connections, and how such changes are modified during pathological conditions. In our studies we use brain slice electrophysiology and pharmacology, two-photon laser microscopy, optogenetics and a wide-range of molecular manipulations. To gain insights into the mechanisms of synaptic function, we include in our studies functional analyses of transgenic mice for several synaptic proteins, as well as mouse models for various neuropsychiatric conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, autistic spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.