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Correct formation of synapses is crucial for normal brain function and synapse deficits have been observed in multiple disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, major depression and Alzheimer’s disease. The glial cells astrocytes, a class of non-neuronal brain cells, play a major role in regulating synapse formation and activity, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood.


The Farhy lab investigates how synapse development and function is regulated by the reciprocal communication between astrocytes and neurons. To study the mechanisms of these interactions, we use rodents as model system, combining in vitro pure cell cultures with in vivo transgenic and knockout mice. These are analyzed using multi-omics approaches including mass-spectrometry and RNA sequencing, as well as histology and functional assays.

Uncovering the cellular pathways activated in both neurons and astrocytes following their interaction during synapse development in the healthy brain, will lead to identification of novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of synaptic dysfunctions in brain disorders.

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