The brain is made up of millions of neurons that transmit signals to one another across synapses. An imbalance in the number of excitatory (glutamatergic) and inhibitory (GABAergic) synapses in the brain is believed to underlie complex neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Kimberly Gerrow was previously funded by MSFHR to investigate the molecular stages of synapse development in the hippocampus. Now, she is working to bring further understanding to the basic principles that dictate the number and strength of excitatory and inhibitory synapses in the brain. Specifically, she is investigating the role of a pre-assembled postsynaptic complex of scaffold proteins, which she hypothesizes dictates the number and strength of contacts formed between young neurons during development. She hopes her work may lead to new potential targets for therapy.