Research in the Wollmuth laboratory addresses fundamental mechanisms underlying fast synaptic transmission in the brain, focusing on those synapses that use glutamate as a neurotransmitter. Synapses are specialized structures that control the flow of information between cells in the brain. Since glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain, synapses that use this neurotransmitter are fundamental to all brain functions and, when dysfunctional, are associated with numerous neurodevelopmental, neurologic, and psychiatric disorders. Glutamate receptors are ligand-gated ion channels that convert the chemical signal glutamate into an electrical and biochemical signal detected by the postsynaptic neuron. These receptors, notably the NMDA and AMPA receptor subtypes, display a variety of molecular and biophysical properties that contribute to their versatility and prominence in fast synaptic transmission. Dr. Wollmuth’s lab is interested in the molecular, biophysical and physiological mechanisms of glutamate receptor function. This work extends from understanding the molecular structures of glutamate receptors and associated proteins to how the dynamics of glutamatergic synapses contribute to networks of interconnected neurons where we study these issues in the zebrafish retina and brain. We are also interested in dysfunction in glutamate receptor signaling that are associated with disease including disease-associated missense mutations and anti-NMDA receptor autoantibodies in lupus. Since we want to understand the details, our approach is molecular and cellular in orientation and highly quantitative.