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Michael Sutton

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Primary Appointment: Molecular & Behav Neurosc Inst
Primary PIBS Dept.: Molecular and Integrative Physiology
PubMed Name: MA Sutton
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  The remarkable information processing capacity of neurons in the mammalian brain stems from the intricate organization of their synaptic connections and the ability of these synapses to change with experience. In brain areas such as the hippocampus, the ability of principal neurons to accommodate dense networks of synaptic connectivity is critical for higher cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Consequently, these neurons extend highly arborized dendrites that project great distances from the cell soma and are invested with > 30,000 unique synaptic inputs. My research group is interested in the molecular mechanisms that control the development, maintenance and plasticity of these synapses in both the healthy and diseased brain. Our current focus is to understand how local biochemical processing in dendrites and axons can service the unique demands of different synaptic sites impinging on the same neuron, and how loss of this tight local regulatory control may contribute to pathophysiological states such as epilepsy. Our research uses a combination of electrophysiology, biochemistry, and molecular approaches in conjunction with high-resolution imaging to explore these questions.