Steward’s research program explores how neurons establish, maintain, and modify their synaptic connections. One component of my research evaluates cellular and molecular processes that contribute to repair after CNS (especially spinal cord) injury. A description of this component of my research may be found on the website for the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. The second component addresses the mechanism underlying gene expression at synapses.
Information storage in the nervous system is thought to be mediated by changes in the strength of individual synapses. These changes, in turn, are determined by adjusting the structure and/or molecular composition of the synapse through a process that requires the expression of particular gene products. But how gene products are targeted to individual synapses, especially as individual synapses are being modified, still remains a mystery.
Key Research Areas:
Spinal cord injury, regeneration, sprouting, epilepsy, excitotoxicity, cellular mechanisms of plasticity