The formation, maintenance and the fine-tuning of synaptic connections between neurons is an essential part of brain function. These processes are modulated by a wide range of extracellular stimuli and are orchestrated through the regulation of synaptic proteins and key signalling pathways. Increasing evidence have also linked mutations or altered expression of synaptic proteins and signalling molecules are linked with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Thus, understanding how synapses are formed and respond to different stimuli, and the exact role specific synaptic proteins play will help us better understand brain function in physiology as well as in specific disorders.
The main goal of the Srivastava Lab is to develop an in-depth understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie synaptic function in physiology, but also dysfunction in the context of neurodevelopment and psychiatric disorders. We specifically focus on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and remodelling of synapses, and how extracellular signals regulate these processes. Moreover, we are particularly interested in how genes associated with increased likelihood of developing neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders contribute to the control of synaptic structure, function and trafficking of proteins to and from synaptic compartments. To achieve this, we utilize cutting-edge technologies such as patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as well as advanced cellular imaging approaches. We work closely with basic and clinical colleagues as well as pharmaceutical companies to address these questions.