This is an individual National Research Service Award for pre-doctoral research training, which provides support for promising doctoral candidates who will be performing dissertation research and training in a scientific health-related field. Several diseases that result in cognitive impairment and mental retardation have been associated with dysregulation of local protein synthesis in dendrites, specifically via overactive signaling of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1). While several diseases related to autism spectrum disorders, such as fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and PTEN harmatoma syndrome, are all associated with overactive mTORC1 signaling in the nervous system, it is not clear how this signaling alters the function of synaptic connections between neurons to cause the behavioral and cognitive abnormalities seen in these disorders. This project will explore the role of mTORC1 in controlling synapse function in the hippocampus, a brain structure known to play a pivotal role in learning and memory. The experiments will assess changes in presynaptic efficacy using electrophysiology and immunofluorescence methods under conditions of cell specific activation or inhibition of mTORC1. This research will provide insights for targeting this signaling pathway as a therapeutic option for autism spectrum disorders.