Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Cellular and molecular neuroscience answers fundamental questions addressing the molecular mechanisms by which cells of the brain, spine, and nerves receive, process, and transmit information. Intrinsic and extrinsic molecular signals govern the growth and development of neurons, and guide the establishment of complex connectivity patterns. Tools within molecular biology and genetics reveal how genetic content and regulation dynamics affect neural network and brain functions. Molecular and cellular neurobiology includes efforts to understand the influence of how different neuronal morphologies, molecular compositions, and physiological states relate to nervous system development and function. Examples of focus areas include how information is encoded within the molecular and cellular composition of the cell, how neurons receive and conduct electrochemical impulses through specialized neurites (dendrites and axons) locally and within networks, and how information is processed by cells of the brain. Molecular and cellular studies build a foundation for understanding how stem cells differentiate and migrate to wire, and rewire, synaptic connections of the nervous system during development.