The focus of my research is the identification of novel mechanisms of glia-neuron interactions involved in brain development and neuronal plasticity. In particular, I am studying mechanisms of neurite outgrowth/dendritic arborization modulated by extracellular matrix proteins and extracellular matrix protease systems expressed and released by astrocytes. The emphasis of my studies is on mechanisms affected by ethanol and implicated in learning and behavioral abnormalities associated with in utero alcohol exposure as seen in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and associated with the development of psychiatric conditions later in life. We measure biochemical, morphological, epigenetic, immunocytochemical and immunohistochemical end-points. Since factors released by astrocytes affecting neuronal functions include glycoproteins and lipids (lipoproteins), our research interests extend into glycobiology and lipid research.