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Jonathan Levy

Before joining the Nicoll lab I worked in Liqun Luo's lab while receiving my my undergraduate degree from Stanford University. One primary area of interest in Liqun's lab is study of the assembly and organization of neural circuits, and my experience there led to an interest in how activity can modify neural processing. I decided to explore this area further with graduate work in Roger's lab. I am studying the MAGUK family of synaptic scaffolding proteins, of which PSD-95 is the most well-characterized member. Past work by this lab and other groups has shown that this family of proteins determines the strength of fast excitatory transmission by playing an instructive role in the synaptic localization of AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) whose abundance determines synaptic strength. Additionally, overexpression of PSD-95 mimics and occludes LTP, suggesting that the two processes share common mechanisms. I hope to understand how the MAGUK family controls the synaptic localization of AMPARs as well as how it might be important in the scaffolding of other synaptic proteins under basal conditions with the idea of extending these findings to the mechanisms underlying LTP.

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