A fundamental goal in neuroscience is to understand how neural circuits are formed, maintained, and reorganized during development and throughout the life of the organism. Our lab is interested in the cellular interactions that facilitate the establishment of neural circuits, as well as the structural plasticity and reorganization of the CNS in the healthy and injured or diseased states. In particular, we focus on the role of astrocytes, part of the larger family of astroglia in the CNS with diverse morphological and functional properties. Though historically thought to serve primarily as support cells for neurons, astrocytes are now known to play critical roles in a number of neurological processes including the formation, maintenance and plasticity of synaptic connections, and neural repair mechanisms after injury. Moreover, a subset of astroglial cells serve as the predominant neural stem cells in the adult forebrain, generating new neurons throughout life. Our lab is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that define and regulate the diversity of astrocyte function in the intact and injured or diseased CNS. We use mouse genetics to manipulate astrocyte function in vivo, and examine the subsequent effects on both neuronal and astrocyte function. Our lab utilizes conventional and confocal microscopy of fixed tissues, as well as chronic, in vivo imaging by 2 photon laser scanning microscopy to address two primary questions: (1) How do astrocytes contribute to synapse formation and reorganization in vivo? (2) What are the molecular signals that regulate astrocyte function in the intact CNS and following injury? Our research aims to bring novel insight into astrocyte biology, with the ultimate goal of providing a deeper understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating neural circuitry.