Dr. Faber, a neuroscientist, studies the basic mechanisms of synaptic transmission in the central nervous system and factors involved in the regulation of the strength of the synaptic connections between neurons. Synapses are the fundamental units of information-processing in the brain, and both the release of neurotransmitters and the responsiveness of the postsynaptic cells to those transmitters can be modified by patterns of activity or produced from within. This plasticity may involve short- or long-term modifications in the function and/or structure of synapses.
Dr. Faber and his colleagues use a number of experimental models, including identified neurons in the goldfish midbrain. Various techniques are used to study the regulation of synaptic transmission at identified central synapses and the goldfishâ€™s behavioral escape response. The lab complements cellular techniques with behavioral studies to investigate how neurons and neural circuits integrate sensory information and shape the resulting motor behavior. Recently, he has extended these studies to ask questions about modifications in synaptic transmission and nerve cell excitability in mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Huntington's disease.