Recently, much progress has been made towards understanding how neurons, the cells responsible for the processing and transfer of information in the central nervous system (CNS), interact with non-neuronal brain cells. However, we have still only begun to scratch the surface about how non-neuronal cells contribute to the structural and functional maturation of the neuronal junctions known as synapses. Our work focuses on identifying and elaborating the genes, molecules, and signaling pathways that are crucial for linking non-neuronal cells with the synaptic structures that have been shown to be severely disrupted in nearly all known neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. The long-term goal of our research is to contribute to novel therapeutic strategies to prevent or repair the impaired synaptic connectivity that occurs during abnormal brain development and following CNS injury or insult.

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