About the Heidelberger Lab
The Heidelberger laboratory studies neurotransmitter release mechanisms and synaptic function in health and disease. The overarching goal is to identify mechanisms that modulate synaptic vesicle dynamics within the presynaptic terminal and to develop strategies to manipulate these mechanisms for therapeutic gain. While a major thrust of the work is to understand the specialized signaling mechanisms of photoreceptors and bipolar cells – neurons that form the first two synapses of the visual throughput pathway – other secretory mechanisms, including those used by cells of the immune system, are also examined. To provide new information about these critical processes, the Heidelberger laboratory employs a powerful combination of electrophysiological, optical, molecular and computational approaches.
Results of these studies will enhance our understanding of how we see and provide information that will guide the development of new treatments to restore vision or prevent its further loss. In addition, they will provide new information about neuronal communication critical for understanding brain diseases such as epilepsy and about immune system function and the regulated release of chemical mediators of inflammation.