In the Eroglu lab, I will examine how non-neuronal cells in the brain regulate the formation of inhibitory neural connections. Most brain regions contain a mix of neuronal circuits that excite and calm each other’s activity. The establishment and maturation of these networks during development is guided by brain cells called astrocytes. Proteins secreted by astrocytes have been shown to enhance the formation of excitatory neuronal connections, however the signals that encourage the development of the corresponding inhibitory connections have not yet been found. Dr. Eroglu’s lab has developed cell systems that contain a large proportion of inhibitory neurons. Using advanced techniques in biochemistry, proteomics, genetics, and cell biology, I will treat these cells with a selection of proteins secreted by astrocytes to assess which of these factors promotes the formation of inhibitory neuronal connections. I will then selectively remove these proteins from the brains of developing mice to determine how this alters the wiring of different brain regions at different times in development. Findings from this work could present novel targets for neurological disorders, such as autism, which involve the loss of neuronal inhibition.