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Welcome to the VanHoven lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at San José State University.  We study the development of the nervous system using the genetic model organism C. elegans.

Research Summary - Understanding Synaptic Partner Recognition

The focus of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms by which neurons identify the correct partners and form and maintain appropriate synaptic connections.  Understanding how neurons choose the correct synaptic partner is at the heart of understanding the organization and function of the nervous system, yet little is known about how it is accomplished. We developed a novel genetically encoded fluorescent marker called NLG-1 GRASP in C. elegans to label correct synaptic contacts in live animals.  We are currently utilizing this marker to discover new genes and molecular mechanisms that mediate correct synaptic partner recognition.