Research in the Alfredo Kirkwood Laboratory is directed toward elucidating the basic mechanisms by which visual experience can modify cortical connections in the visual cortex and how those mechanisms are regulated. In visual cortical slices, we investigate two forms of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity: long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). These two forms of synaptic plasticity are currently the most comprehensive models of the elementary mechanisms underlying naturally occurring plasticity. We are currently focused on how synaptic inhibition and the action of neuromodulators regulate the induction of LTP and LTD during development. We hope to gain a better understanding of how naturally occurring plasticity is regulated.