Illustration of synapses

About the Lab

Projects in the Smith Laboratory focus on 'Neuro-Glia' interactions. Our research will explore the understudied and novel mechanisms by which neuromodulators mediate the interactions between neurons, astrocytes and microglia in both normal and disease states. By studying how neuromodulators mediate the unique interactions between these three cell types, we will elucidate their coordinated functions in the normal, healthy brain and how disruptions of neuronal-glial crosstalk will contribute to disease processes such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and epilepsy.

To that end, we hope these studies will provide valuable insight on the role of glia in pathophysiology, which is underrecognized in developmental disorders, with the hope of revealing pathways suitable for manipulation to alter disease progression in the central nervous system. To accomplish these goals, we employ a combination of transgenic animals, electrophysiology, pharmacology, behavioral assays, and two-photon Ca2+ imaging in acute slices and awake behaving animals.

Funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • Department of Defense Army Research Laboratory Award

    2020-2023

  • NIH Faculty Career Development Award

    2019-2024