Kendal S. Broadie, Ph.D.
Stevenson Professor of Neurobiology,
Professor of Biological Sciences, Professor of Pharmacology, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
We employ the immensely powerful Drosophila genetic system to study nervous system development, function and plasticity using a combination of forward and reverse genetic approaches. We are interested in both fundamental questions of neurobiology and in the generation of genetic models of heritable neurological disease. Our particular focus is on the synapse, including synaptogenesis, neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity. One foci is activity-dependent synaptic changes and neural circuit remodeling, including connectivity refinement, local translation mechanisms, and the early-life critical periods driving neural circuit optimization. Approaches we use include brain circuit live imaging, optogenetics, transgenic activity reporters, and behavioral studies (learning & memory). A second foci is synapse formation driven by trans-synaptic signaling, including synaptic structural and functional differentiation, presynaptic SV cycle, postsynaptic glutamate receptors and extracellular regulation of cell-cell interactions within the synaptomatrix. We study synaptic trafficking, molecular scaffolds, ion channel complexes and binding partners, and developmental calcium signaling. Approaches we use include live imaging at neuromuscular synapses, two-electrode voltage-clamp (TEVC) electrophysiology, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), optogenetics/fluorescent transgenic reports and biochemistry/molecular biology with combined classical and molecular genetics.