March 01, 2014

How Neurons Talk to Each Other - The Synapse and More: Susan Voglmaier

Your thoughts, decisions, emotions, and actions – essentially everything you do—relies on the incredibly complex circuits within your brain. Within these circuits, neurons signal to each other through a process called synaptic neurotransmission, whereby chemicals released by one neuron bind to receptors that are located on a neighboring neuron. This extremely complicated process requires an orchestra of protein interactions and is tremendously quick, taking place over about two thousandths of a second.

Given the importance of synaptic neurotransmission in how circuits function, and the role of circuits in cognition, it is not surprising that defects in synaptic transmission are thought to underlie mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Today, we talk to Dr. Susan Voglmaier, a practicing psychiatrist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. Dr. Voglmaier’s lab is interested in the process by which proteins called transporters prepare neurotransmitters for neurotransmission. Her research provides new insights into the basic molecular machinery underlying synaptic transmission, what might go awry in psychiatric disease, and, potentially, future ways to treat these diseases.

More on the Voglmaier Lab's research

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