- Biomedical Engineering Program, University of Manitoba
- Synapse development
- Synaptic plasticity
- Molecular logic of neural circuits
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Principal investigator, Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine, Health Sciences Centre
- Research scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM)
Synapse development requires adhesion of appropriate axons and dendrites, accompanied by local recruitment of presynaptic vesicle release machinery in axons and apposing neurotransmitter receptor signal transduction machinery in dendrites.
These processes are coordinated by a class of trans-synaptic adhesion proteins known as synapse organizers.
Synapse organizing proteins coordinate the broad spectrum of processes constituting synapse development, including formation and maintenance of synapses, as well as mediating experience-dependent changes in synaptic properties, a phenomenon known as synaptic plasticity.
Numerous mutations or copy number variations in genes encoding synapse organizers disrupt synaptic function and increase the risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
The goals of the Siddiqui research program are:
- to determine the molecular mechanisms of synapse development and function in both the developing and mature brain
- to determine the mechanisms governing long lasting changes in synaptic properties (plasticity)
- to determine how synapses are specified and organized in the mammalian brain
- to discover and test regulatory mechanisms governing synaptic function
The Siddiqui lab research program will generate fundamental knowledge of how neuronal circuits form and function and will open untapped lines of inquiry with strong potential to yield novel small molecule therapeutics targeting synapse organizers.