Research Expertise & Professional Interests
Research Interests of the Russek Laboratory: Dysregulated Plasticity of the Nervous System
The plasticity of a neuron’s receptor systems at the membrane is a key feature of the brain that enables its development as well as its function throughout life, creating and responding to an ever-changing external and internal world. A glorious biological feature of existence, however, also contributes to mankind’s most devastating disorders. Dysregulated plasticity takes multiple forms, from the unrelenting seizures of an infant that later emerges with brain damage, to the manifestation of autism and schizophrenia, all begging for curative therapies. Our chief interests in the laboratory surround a desire to understand the genetic and epigenetic basis of neurotransmitter and neurotrophin receptor regulation. We believe that such an understanding will enable us to contribute to the future development of therapeutics that can tackle these complex human problems where plasticity has lost its balance in controlling brain inhibition and excitation.
We employ a variety of proteomic and transcriptomic techniques, including confocal fluorescence immunohistochemistry, western blot, proximity ligation assays, siRNA silencing, RNA and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) high density sequencing, methylation genome analysis, proximity ligation analysis, primary neuronal cultures, and in vivo models (rodent and zebrafish) to test hypotheses of disease etiology and potential strategies for novel molecular therapeutics using novel chemical libraries and re-purposed therapeutics.