The need to connect: on the cell biology of synapses, behaviors, and networks in science.

Research paper by Daniel A DA Colón-Ramos

Indexed on: 02 Nov '16Published on: 02 Nov '16Published in: Molecular biology of the cell


My laboratory is interested in the cell biology of the synapse. Synapses, which are points of cellular communication between neurons, were first described by Santiago Ramón y Cajal as "protoplasmic kisses that appear to constitute the final ecstasy of an epic love story." Who would not want to work on that?! My lab examines the biological mechanisms neurons use to find and connect to each other. How are synapses formed during development, maintained during growth, and modified during learning? In this essay, I reflect about my scientific journey to the synapse, the cell biological one, but also a metaphorical synapse-my role as a point of contact between the production of knowledge and its dissemination. In particular, I discuss how the architecture of scientific networks propels knowledge production but can also exclude certain groups in science.