COVID-19 |

The Synapses, Cytoskeleton and Trafficking Study Section (SYN) reviews applications on the cell biology of neurons, synapses and gap junctions. Specific areas include including synaptic plasticity, protein and organelle trafficking, cell surface and extracellular matrix molecules in cell recognition and function, and cytoskeletal functions across the life span.

Emphasis is on fundamental mechanisms of neuronal function, including those relevant to disease processes such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s diseases and fragile-X syndrome. Both hypothesis- and non-hypothesis-driven research are considered, as well as a wide range of techniques and model systems, including C. elegans, Drosophila, mice, rats and zebrafish.

The List of Reviewers lists all present, whether standing members or temporary, to provide the full scope of expertise present on that date. Lists are posted 30 days before the meeting and are tentative, pending any last minute changes.

Review Dates

Membership Panel

The membership panel is a list of chartered members only.


  • Formation, regulation, maintenance, and dynamics of synaptic structure and function in the central and peripheral nervous systems; homeostatic synaptic plasticity.
  • Molecular neuronal mechanisms of endocytosis, exocytosis and membrane recycling; protein assembly, folding and aggregation; organelle, protein, and mRNA trafficking; mRNA localization.
  • Transcriptional and translational regulation as they relate to synaptic function and plasticity.
  • Structure, function, modification, assembly and regulation of cytoskeletal proteins and molecular motors; axonal and dendritic transport; neuronal polarity, growth cones, and structural plasticity; cytoskeletal pathology; the regulation and role of the ubiquitin proteasome system in these processes.
  • Cell surface, extracellular matrix, transmembrane components, and their function; cell recognition as it relates to synaptic assembly and function.
  • Alterations in synaptic integrity and function associated with central and peripheral disorders.
  • Studies that incorporate emerging ‘-omics’ data with synaptic structure and function.

Shared Interests and Overlaps

Neurodifferentiation, Plasticity, and Regeneration (NDPR) –NDPR and SYN have shared interest in synapse formation and plasticity. Applications with an emphasis on development, regeneration, or circadian rhythms are generally reviewed in NDPR while applications with a greater emphasis on adult synaptic function and underlying mechanisms such as vesicular trafficking, exocytosis or cytoskeletal dynamics are typically reviewed in SYN.

Neurotransporters, Receptors, Channels and Calcium Signaling (NTRC) – NTRC and SYN have shared interest in synaptic plasticity, signal transduction, vesicle trafficking and release, and ion channel/receptor localization and trafficking. Applications focusing on cellular neurophysiology and the functional consequences of directed trafficking of ion channels, receptors, and transporters may be more appropriate for NTRC. Applications focusing on the underlying cell biology would typically be reviewed in SYN.

Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neurodegeneration (CMND) – CMND and SYN have shared interest in neurodegenerative processes. Neurodegenerative applications with a significant emphasis on synaptic mechanisms, cytoskeleton regulation, or intracellular trafficking machinery would typically be reviewed in SYN.

Membrane Biology and Protein Processing (MBPP) – MBPP and SYN have shared interest in the mechanisms and regulation of protein synthesis, trafficking and clearance and membrane trafficking and fusion. Applications with studies performed in a neuronal context would typically be reviewed in SYN.

Nuclear and Cytoplasmic Structure/Function and Dynamics (NCSD) - NCSD and SYN have shared interest in cytoskeletal proteins and molecular motor assembly, endocytosis, exocytosis, RNA localization and targeting. Applications focused on the molecular neuronal mechanism (especially in excitable neuronal cells) would typically be reviewed in SYN.

MMolecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling (MNPS) – MNPS and SYN have shared interest in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity. Applications involving neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity in the context of addiction and mood disorders would typically be reviewed in MNPS, whereas applications focusing on neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity in the context of neurodegenerative diseases and autism could be reviewed in SYN.

Molecular Neurogenetics (MNG) – MNG and SYN have shared interest in the use of the molecular biological and genetic tools. Applications using molecular biology and genetic techniques with a focus on synaptic plasticity should be reviewed in SYN whereas if the focus is on genetics, genetic tools or genetic discovery they should be reviewed in MNG.

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Study Section [LAM] – LAM and SYN have a shared interest in neurobiological mechanisms and neural plasticity. Applications centered on the cellular and molecular regulation of neurons, and primarily on molecular signaling and synaptic plasticity would typically be reviewed in SYN.