Kenneth S. Kosik
We work on neural plasticity including the molecular basis of plasticity, the evolution of synapses, and disease-related impairments of plasticity such as occurs in Alzheimer's disease. The Kosik lab intends to create an intellectual setting conducive to the exploration of fundamental biological processes, particularly those related to the brain and its evolution. Although the approach is largely reductionist with an emphasis on genes, molecules and cells, studies in the lab also encompass systems level informatic approaches that include large genomic and transcriptional and imaging data sets. One theme in the lab is how cells acquire and lose their identities. A specialized case of altered cellular identity is synaptic plasticity. The lab is interested in the underlying molecular basis of plasticity, particularly how protein translation at the synapse affects learning and how impairments of plasticity lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Behind all the lab projects stands the overarching principle succinctly stated by Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution."