Welcome to the

Akins
Lab

in the department of biology

At Drexel University

Even brief interactions with the world around us can lead to long-lasting changes in our brain. Our lab studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms that neurons use to make these changes, in particular the regulation of protein synthesis. Our experiments focus on rodent models of the human disease Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common autism-associated disorder. FXS, which arises from mutations in the RNA-binding protein FMRP, is characterized by alterations in how neurons synthesize proteins in response to synaptic activity. We utilize a combination of genetic, biochemical, and imaging approaches to study the functions of FMRP in axons and presynaptic sites. We aim to understand how FMRP-regulated presynaptic protein synthesis contributes to normal brain function, as well as how disruptions in this process contribute to the symptoms of diseases including FXS and autism.

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