Research in the Farris lab focuses on understanding how dendritically localized RNAs are regulated in the brain and how local translation promotes cell-type specific functions underlying learning and memory. In particular, we are currently focused on investigating dendritic RNAs in area CA2 of the hippocampus, a subregion that is resistant to long-term potentiation and cell death, and is thought to be required for social memory. Given that a number of neurodevelopmental disorders are characterized by disruptions in social processing, investigating the post-transcriptional mechanisms critical to CA2 function and gaining a comprehensive molecular understanding of how social experiences are stored in the brain may lead to novel therapies relevant for individuals with social deficits.

Using a combination of mouse genetics to gain access to specific hippocampal cell-types, deep sequencing technologies to obtain a genome-wide view of transcription and translation, and single molecule imaging techniques to illuminate the processes regulating dendritic RNA in vivo, we hope to provide mechanistic insight on the behaviorally-induced synaptic modifications in CA2 that may be required for encoding social behavior.