Research in cellular and molecular neuroscience seeks to understand the brain at its most fundamental level by examining the basic elements of the nervous system. The interplay of the complex molecular machinery of the neuronal membrane with the dynamics of electrical potentials is critical to understanding the synaptic contacts where neurons communicate with each other. The plasticity of these contacts, expressed by neuronal axons, can explain properties of learning and memory. Studies of how axons form synapses during formation of small networks in tissue culture can take us further into this fascinating microscopic world, allowing us to probe the genetic, environmental, and chemical factors that influence how the brain develops and adapts to outside stimuli.
The cellular and molecular neuroscience research conducted under the auspices of BCS focuses not only on the underpinnings of normal brain/mind development and function, but also on the root causes related to the failure of those functions, such as the pathologies of aging and degenerative diseases. New discoveries taking place at MIT and other institutions give hope of new treatments for these brain-related diseases.
Ki Ann Goosens