Throughout his career, Dr. Tom Schwarz has studied the biological mechanisms that allow neurons to develop and function correctly. He received his AB and PhD at Harvard University. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, he was part of the team the cloned the first potassium channel gene. Dr. Schwarz then joined the faculty of Stanford University where he combined genetic, electrophysiological and biochemical methods to study how ion channels (electrical gates of cells) and synapses (sites where cells communicate) function. He began studying mitochondrial dynamics when a gene mutation was identified that prevents mitochondria from being transported to synapses. Since becoming a professor of neurology at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 2000, his lab has focused on how organelles (structures within cells), especially mitochondria, move in neurons. His research on mitochondria also includes studies of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's.