Brain function is all about connections. In the retina, neurons comprise distinct populations that form precise connections in synaptic layers.
“What makes these cells chose a particular synaptic partner and how are these choices maintained?” asks Dr. Melanie Samuel. “Answering these questions requires a well-defined and accessible neural circuit and we find the retina is the right model for the job.”
In her lab at Baylor College of Medicine, Samuel investigates neural wiring pathways and molecules involved in helping neurons make the right connections with other neurons for normal neural function.
She and her team also investigate the biological mechanisms responsible for healthy aging of the nervous system, as well as the molecular events that predispose the nervous system to disease and the factors that influence cancer formation. They also test ways to attenuate these changes.