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Synaptic organization and connectivity

Synapses are functional units of connectivity in the brain. Last five decades of research across the spectrum of neuroscience correlate that malfunctioning synapses has direct implications on cognition and other neurobiological disorders.  Despite tremendous progress in "state of the art" technology around us, grasping how the brain functions it still at infancy. Part of the problem lies in comprehending and integrating architecture of the brain in to a single platform which spans many orders of magnitude. Our lab at Centre for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science attempts to dissect this question at the finest level by discerning how single synapses process this information in real-time at the resolution molecules. The major focus of our research interest is a glutamatergic excitatory synapse, which is often formed on specialized membrane compartment referred as dendritic spine. The morphology of the spines is correlated with the efficiency of information transfer which in turn depends on the distribution of molecules involved in orchestrating this flow of information. This process is coordinated by molecules assembling and disassembling in real-time to adapt synaptic efficacy enough to pass the necessary information. Such a process would rely on molecules like neurotransmitters, neurotransmitter receptors, scaffolding molecules, calcium sensors, cytoskeleton and plethora of other molecules at the right place at the right time to facilitate the transmission and kick start a cascade of signaling processes which would modulate the efficiency of synaptic transmission.