uri icon
  • Contact Info
  • 1 979 845 8099

Zoran, Mark Professor and Associate Dean

Positions

Cellular and Developmental Neurobiology

Research Summary My laboratory studies cellular mechanisms governing the formation of specific synaptic connections between neurons and their targets. These mechanisms include cell-cell recognition and target-dependent induction of the presynaptic secretion machinery. Some of our studies investigate synapse formation of identified motoneurons of the American pond snail, Helisoma trivolvis , following nerve injury in vivo and in cell culture. Since the synapse is the site of most interneuronal communication within the nervous system, an understanding of the development, regeneration and plasticity of these connections is crucial to an ultimate appreciation of neural integration and brain function.



Neural Morphallaxis

We also study a rare form of regeneration called neural morphallaxis in the annelid worm, Lumbriculus variegatus. This organism is ideal for examining behavioral, physiological, cellular and molecular mechanisms of development, regeneration and systems-level plasticity. We have defined the neural correlates of escape reflexes, which are reconfigured during morphallaxis. Recently we have begun investigations of synaptic molecules up-regulated specifically during morphallaxis. This model system is emerging as a valuable educational tool in the science classroom.

HR job title

  • Professor and Associate Dean