The goal of our lab is to understand how neuronal computations change in response to an animal’s interactions with the environment.
From the moment an animal is born, its brain is working to extract information from its surroundings and initiate appropriate behavioral responses. This is done through the activity of excitatory and inhibitory neurons that are organized into synaptically connected circuits. Our lab is interested in understanding how experience, via the execution of activity-dependent gene expression, regulates the connectivity of inhibitory and excitatory neurons and how these processes relate to animal behavior and disease states.
Our studies are performed in the mouse hippocampus to take advantage of its role in spatial learning and memory and the thoroughly characterized circuit architecture. Our experimental approaches are multidisciplinary – we manipulate gene expression and molecular function in specific cell types while probing synaptic connectivity with optogenetics, viral circuit tracing, two-photon uncaging of neurotransmitters, and electrophysiology.