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Prof Joshua R Sanes
Our major aim has been to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate synapse formation. For a long time, we focused on the transsynaptic exchange of information that leads to pre- and postsynaptic differentiation and to the precise apposition of pre- and postsynaptic structures. We used the large and accessible neuromuscular junction for these studies. More recently, we have been asking how axons and dendrites select appropriate partners from a myriad of choices - in other words, the problem of synaptic specificity. For this work, we have turned to the retinotectal system. In addition, we have developed transgenic methods to label synaptic structures in vivo, so we can watch their development and map the circuits they form.
Developmental neurobiology is underserved by journals that cover developmental biology or neurobiology more generally. Neural Development provides a venue to showcase the best work in this exciting field, ranging from early events in pattern formation and neurogenesis through later steps in circuit assembly and all the way to imaginative studies that apply developmental insights to help us understand disease and behavior.