benson lab
Cellular Mechanisms of Circuit Formation, Activity, & Behavior

A striking feature of the mature central nervous system is the precision of its synaptic circuitry. More than 20 billion neurons in the human brain are precisely connected with one another through trillions of synapses. Much of the wiring is established in the absence of neural activity or experience indicating the basic organization of neural pathways is encoded in the genetic program. Recent studies support that several devastating developmental diseases, including autism and schizophrenia, have as their root cause modifications in the genetic program that ultimately disrupt the balance of synaptic connections. In order to understand how synapse specificity is achieved and how it is altered in human diseases, we investigate mechanisms controlling pathway development and synaptogenesis in development and how these same mechanisms influence synapse stability and plasticity in adulthood.


Deanna Benson, PhD
Work in the lab is focused on the mechanisms required to generate normal functioning neural circuits.
j Neuroscience Hsiao K, Harony-Nicolas H, Buxbaum JD, +Bozdagi-Gunal O, +Benson DL. (2016) Cyfip1 regulates presynaptic activity during development. J. Neuroscience 36:1564-76.
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