Research

1. Cortical network dysfunction in models of autism.  We use in-vivo and in-vitro electrophysiological and optogenetic techniques, to understand how changes in connectivity between defined excitatory and inhibitory neurons alter the synchronized firing of neurons in animals engaged in socially-relevant behaviors.   We are focusing on the CNTNAP2 autism model currently.

 

2. Mechanisms linking pathological synchronization and cognitive dysfunction in epilepsy:  Using in-vivo whole-cell, juxtacellular, and silicon nanoprobe recordings in mice behaving in virtual environments, we study how defined inhibitory interneurons malfunction in the chronically epileptic animals during navigation and cognition.

 

3. Synaptic and network mechanisms underlying perceptual decision making.  Using two-photon guided whole-cell intracellular recordings, calcium imaging, and optogenetics in mice engaged in perceptual decision making, we are discovering the underlying synaptic and network mechanisms that drive perception and decision making under uncertain conditions.

 

4. Neuromodulation and decision making:  We study the role of neuromodulatory systems, (in particular the noradrenergic system) in controlling cortical ensemble firing patterns that drive perceptual decision making.

 

5. Building new tools for recording and controlling the activity patterns of large neuronal populations.    We are building new tools for simultaneous imaging and optogenetic manipulation of large networks in behaving animals.

In collaboration with Alcino Silva, Baljit Khakh, and Dejan Markovic we are developing a new generation of open source miniaturized microscopes for multichannel, optogenetics-capable, wireless calcium imaging in freely behaving animals.  We have been awarded a BRAIN Initiative Grant to develop and share these tools with the neuroscience community.  Please visit miniscope.org for more information.

Hundreds of hippocampal CA1 neurons recorded over 1 month using our miniaturized microscopes in freely behaving mice.

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