Our research is focused on glutamate receptors, which are ligand-gated channels that mediate much of the excitatory communication between neurons in the brain. The trafficking of these receptors in neurons is thought underly synaptic plasticity, and their inappropriate activation is implicated in several diseases of the nervous system. A better understanding of these receptors will facilitate the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases attributable to neurodegeneration, and help us better understand the mechanisms behind learning and memory.
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Chris Rongo is a Principal Investigator in the Waksman Institute, Professor and Vice Chair of the Rutgers Department of Genetics . He studies molecular genetics of synapse formation and plasticity in C. elegans. A current focus in his lab is on understanding three areas of neurophysiology: how the transport and dynamics of mitochondria are mediated along axons and dendrites, as well as at synapses; how neurons, synapses, and neuronal mitochondria respond to hypoxic stress (e.g., ischemic stroke); the functions of the Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS) in neurons and its role in cellular aging.