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Cambridge MA
Jeff Litchman at MCB Harvard University
the mechanisms that underlie synaptic competition between neurons that innervate the same target cell. Such competitive interactions are responsible for sharpening the patterns of neural connections during development and may also be important in learning and memory formation. My laboratory studies synaptic competition by visualizing synaptic rearrangements directly in living animals using modern optical imaging techniques. We have concentrated on neuromuscular junctions in a very accessible neck muscle in mice where new transgenic animals and other labeling strategies allow individual nerve terminals and postsynaptic specializations to be monitored over hours or months. In addition, we have developed several new methods to improve our ability to resolve synaptic structure.