Review Branch Summary

The Basic Neuroscience (BN) Review Branch reviews cellular and molecular applications involving the structure and function of neuronal, glial, and other excitable cells, as well as the development of both the central and the peripheral nervous systems, inclusive of the visual system and other excitable cells such as endocrine and neuroendocrine cells, muscle cells, and neuromuscular junctions. Areas of interest include the functional characteristics of synapses, organelles, ion channels, the mechanisms by which extra- and intracellular signals are transduced and the functional characteristics of the transducers themselves, general mechanisms underlying the process of cell death, analyses of neural cell lineage, factors that specify or influence synaptic plasticity, neuronal migration pathways or axonal pathfinding, processes that involve the maturation of neurons and glia, the formation of patterns and boundaries that lead to the development of adult brain regions and nuclei, and other aspects of the basic cellular and molecular physiology of neurons and glia. Applications reviewed in the BN Review Branch also include those relevant to injuries and disorders inclusive of neurodegeneration and complex brain disorders, basic neuropharmacology and the action of drugs of abuse, although the emphasis lies more in revealing basic biological processes that underlie or may be altered in these disorders than in treating the disorder or its manifestations.