Research Interest


Neurotransmitters are essential components of chemical mediated neuronal communication.  An understanding of the mechanisms involved in the synthesis and release of neurotransmitters is vital for a more complete understanding of neural function, development, and maintenance.  I am pursuing a genetic and molecular approach to study neurotransmitter synthesis, synaptic transmission, and neuronal function in the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.  This organism is ideally suited for such studies because of its simple nervous system and ease of genetic and molecular manipulation.  Pictured above is a transgenic worm expressing the gfp (green fluorescent protein) reporter gene in cholinergic neurons.  The bright spots are neuronal cell bodies in the head and ventral nerve cord.  Neuronal processes are also visible as lines extending upward from the cell bodies.