Our team's research goal is to understand how long-range neural circuits wire and rewire throughout the lifespan, how this relates to behavioral function, and how we can harness new findings to develop pharmacotherapies to treat brain disorders. Our work focuses on subcortical brain circuits (basal ganglia, dopamine, hypothalamus, etc).
We are interested in two types of brain wiring:
1) postnatal wiring of neural systems across brain maturation and 2) experience-dependent rewiring of neural systems in young and adult animals.
Our work primarily focuses on neural systems critical for body and social homeostasis including brain circuits for energy and reward seeking (feeding, reward & motivation, addiction), energy output (arousal, locomotion, exercise) or social behavior.
Through this work, we hope to contribute a deeper understanding of the ontogeny, plasticity and behavioral relevance of subcortical brain circuits with a strong focus on translational psychiatry questions.
To this end we use a combination of in vivo and in vitro fluorescent imaging, GPCR biosensors, optogenetics, chemogenetics, neuropharmacology, neuroanatomical tracing, behavioral/metabolic assays, deep learning behavioral tracking and transgenic mouse models.