Cell Signalling Research Unit
We are unravelling the mechanisms of how nerve cells communicate with each other. Understanding the molecular machinery of nerve cell communication is crucial to understanding how neurological disorders such as epilepsy and schizophrenia arise and how they may be better treated.
Our focus is on a fundamental part of normal nerve communication called synaptic vesicle recycling in nerve cells (neurons). Information transfer along a neuron is largely electrical, however communication across the synapses, the contact points between neurons, occurs by the release of chemical signals, neurotransmitters, across the gap. Neurotransmitters are stored in tiny packages called vesicles. To keep nerve communication going the synaptic vesicles must be released (exocytosis) and retrieved (endocytosis), and refilled with neurotransmitters.
Both exocytosis and endocytosis are crucial for normal brain function. We are determining how brain proteins work together to build the molecular machines of nerve communication, particularly endocytosis, what changes are brought about by disease, and how we can ultimately attempt to compensate for the malfunction.
For more information see the staff profiles