The Huber lab seeks to understand mechanisms of synapse development and plasticity and in turn how this impacts function of cortical circuits in the normal brain and in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and intellectual disability. In our research, we focus on understanding the role of genes linked to human autism and intellectual disability that regulate mRNA transcription and translation in neurons. A goal of this research is to determine mechanisms by which transcriptional and translational control regulate development, plasticity and function of synapses and cortical circuits. In the course of pursuing these basic research questions, we also discover how loss of function of these disease-linked genes affect brain development and function to identify therapeutic targets.
We utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to address these research questions, incorporating state-of-the art electrophysiological, optogenetic and laser guided functional circuit mapping methods, together with imaging of genetically manipulated neuron populations. We also utilize biochemical and molecular methods to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synapse and circuit function