The Contractor Lab
Feinberg School of Medicine
Research in our laboratory is directed at understanding the fundamental mechanisms of synaptic communication and how these processes go wrong in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders.
What we do
We study Synaptic Mechanisms Mouse Models of Autism Affective Disorders
Whether you’re a graduate student or a post-doctoral fellow, you’ll receive attentive mentorship throughout your tenure in the lab.
We are part of the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience (NUIN) Program, which offers world-class collaborators and state-of-the-art core facilities.
Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary PhD program that trains students in biomedical sciences while giving them the flexibility to pursue a variety of research interests and dual degrees.
Video: Activity of D1 SPNs (spiny projection neurons) in the striatum of a mouse as it navigates an open field environment.
Synapses are fundamental structures that underlie all neuronal connectivity, and information processing in the brain. Plasticity of synapses during development is critical to the correct wiring of the brain and many neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders result from dysregulation of synaptic function and plasticity. Our laboratory are investigating the mechanism that underlie these disruption in disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and affective disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorders.
Synaptic plasticity is also a key substrate of information storage in the brain and is required for the formation, consolidation and retrieval of memories. We are studying the mechanisms of plasticity in the brain and how these relate to memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.