My laboratory examines the molecular basis of learning and memory. In particular, his laboratory has cloned a set of immediate early genes (IEGs) that are rapidly transcribed in neurons involved in information processing, and that are essential for long term memory. IEG proteins can directly modify synapses and provide insight into cellular mechanisms that support synapse-specific plasticity. For example, Narp is secreted and induces excitatory synapse formation. Homer catalyzes conformational coupling of multi-protein machines involved in calcium signaling. Rheb regulates mTor (target of rapamycin) and protein translation. Arc induces the formation of endosomes that function in trafficking of glutamate receptors. Thus, rapid de novo transcription provides novel insights into the cellular and neural network basis of behavioral plasticity.