Research

Neural circuits are not hard-wired but modified throughout life based on experiences. When the delicate balance of plasticity is lost, the consequences may result in various disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Schizophrenia. The Marik lab at Pace University's Dyson College of Arts and Sciences aims to understand how disruption of certain proteins impact neural circuits and ultimately behavior. We are using a variety of techniques including molecular biology, microscopy, optogenetics, social behaviors, learning and memory tasks.

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Our research will provide better understanding on how mutations, in genes that increase risk for ASD, impact different cell types within the brain thereby altering complex behaviors. This will lead to a better understanding of how different cell types are impacted will lead to novel therapeutics to alleviate disruptions in neural plasticity.

Microglia dynamics during neural development Microglia, the resident immune cell of the central nervous system appear to live a double life. Microglia are well-known for their phagocytic capabilities; however, they can also release pro-survival neurotrophic factors. We are investigating the molecular pathways involved in microglia motility, phenotype and synapse interaction. Pediatric Stroke Pediatric stroke is one of the top ten causes of death in children. Hypoxia during stroke creates cell damage and cell death. We are examining how microglia may play a role in cell damage and determine possible avenues to reprogram them to be neuro-protective following short hypoxic events.

Our new automated high-resolution fluorescence imaging system made possible through an NSF grant.
https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1919713&HistoricalAwards=false