Research areas: Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Techniques: Manipulation and measurement of neuroendocrine (especially sex steroid) mechanisms, immunocytochemistry. Organisms used: Birds, especially zebra finches and Japanese quail Research interests: Neuroendocrine mechanisms of avian social behavior and social relationships, during development and in adulthood. Publications
Research areas: Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems, Neuroendocrinology Techniques: Electrophysiology, immunohsitochemistry, molecular biology Organisms used: Teleost Fishes Research interests: Research in our laboratory focuses on two projects concerning the central and peripheral nervous systems of sound-producing/"vocalizing" teleost fishes: 1) Characterization, and hormonal influences on, sex differences in the morphology of single, physiologically-identified neurons. 2) Temporal and spectral encoding of acoustic communication signals. These projects revolve around studies of alternative mating tactics in species with two male morphs that differ in a large suite of behavioral, neurobiological, and neuroendocrine characters including divergent acoustic courtship behaviors and vocal control pathways. We answer questions regarding the existence of behaviors and their underlying mechanisms using a multidisciplinary, neuroethological approach that combines field studies of vocal communication with laboratory studies of the nervous system that utilize one or more of the following approaches: neurophysiology combined with anatomical tract tracing, neuroendocrinology, electron microscopy, immunicytochemistry, and in situ hybridization
Research areas: Cell and molecular Organisms used: Manduca sexta, drosophila Research interests: The long-term goal of the research in our laboratory is to determine the neural basis of behavioral ontogeny using the moth Manduca sexta, and the fly Drosophila melanogaster as model systems. Both of these insects go through a complete metamorphosis from a larva to an adult through the developmentally interesting pupal stage. Along with the dramatic changes in body morphology metamorphosis also results in the in shift in the behaviors repertoire of these insects. Our goal is to understand the neural correlates that accompany these changes in behavior. We exploit Manduca's large and easily accessible nervous system allowing us to examine the role of extrinsic cues (e.g. hormones; cell-cell interactions) and in the regulation of postembryonic development of the CNS. Currently, we are examining the role of a set of hormones in regulating the motor patterns during Manduca's molt cycles. We also exploit the genetic tools offered by Drosophila in our research program to learn more about cellular and molecular basis of postembryonic neurogenesis. We recently completed a screen for Drosophila mutants that disrupted the pattern of postembryonic neurogenesis. The genetic and molecular analysis of these mutants should provide new insights into the factors involved in the regulation of postembryonic neurogenesis.
Research areas: Techniques used: Organisms used: Research interests: My research and teaching are interwoven so that the two activities reinforce each other and so that, to the greatest extent possible, the latest research findings are integrated into the courses I teach. Throughout my career, my research and teaching have revolved around a single broad theme: the scientific study of human cognition. I have concentrated most extensively on the development of cognitive processes in normal and atypical children, but I have also published considerable research on adult cognition and have taught widely in that area. Thus, my vitae is sprinkled with publications in outlets such as Journal of Experimental Psychology and Journal of Memory and Language, as well as the familiar developmental outlets, such as Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. In recent years, my research and teaching have also encompassed questions about how cognitive processes are affected by normal aging and by the diseases of late adulthood. This, in turn, has stimulated a research program in cognitive neuroscience. Across all of these areas, a particular focus has been the relationship between memory processes and higher reasoning abilities. After several years of research and teaching on the memory/reasoning interface, I began to develop, with the collaboration of my colleague V. F. Reyna, a general model of how memory influences reasoning and how reasoning influences memory, which is known as fuzzy-trace theory. Fuzzy-trace theory, which seeks to explain some of the most counterintuitive aspects of memory and reasoning, is now widely used by investigators in fields such as forensic psychology, judgment and decision making, and human memory. The theory has become standard fare in undergraduate and graduate courses and can be found in freshman psychology textbooks.
Research areas: Cell and molecular, physiology Techniques used: Molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology and biophysics to tackle these problems Organisms used: Rodents Research interests:Primary sensory neurons encode environmental stimuli into electric signals. This task usually initiates with activation of modality-specific receptors that express in distinctive populations of nerve fibers. Many of the receptors involved in this transduction process are TRP family ion channels. The specificity of transduction channels to respond exclusively to a particular category of physical or chemical stimuli enables neurons to distinguish different environmental cues, even when the final outputs are universally a train of action potential spikes. Besides the modality specificity, transduction channels must generate the signal quantitatively matching the stimulus intensity in order to faithfully represent the environmental information. Modulation of transduction channels thus provides a powerful strategy to modify our subjective perception of the external world. We are interested in understanding the molecular basis of these modulations and their biomedical relevance.
Research areas: Systems Neuroscience, Learning & Memory, Olfaction Techniques: Electrophysiology, theoretical/computational modeling, behavior, pharmacology Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: My resaerch concerns how complex cognitive and perceptual phenomena can arise from, and be regulated by, cellular and neural circuit properties. Primarily using the sense of smell (olfaction), my students, colleagues, and I ask how learning, memory, expectation, and like processes shape the transformations performed on sensory inputs by relatively peripheral (i.e., experimentally accessible) cortical circuitry, and how these different transformations in turn influence behavior and subsequent learning. We triangulate on these questions using a range of techniques including electrophysiology, pharmacology, behavior and behavior genetics, and biophysically constrained computational modeling. Publications
Research areas: Cell and molecular, physiology Techniques used: Molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology and biophysics to tackle these problems Organisms used: Rodents Research interests:At its most basic, our work studies how the chemical reactions of biology are organized within the cellular boundaries. Biological organization is both spatial (cellular architecture), and temporal (cellular dynamics). We are interested in how cellular organization is maintained and harnessed by the animal to generate distinct physiological outputs, and how changes in intracellular organization underlie pathophysiological conditions.
Research areas: Physiology, Chemoreception, Cell and Molecular, Neurotransmitter Receptors and Signal Transduction Techniques:Calcium imaging, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology, behavioral studies, sensory testing. Organisms used: Mice and Humans Research interests: I study the neurotransmitter interactions and signaling events which occur within the taste system. Mammalian taste consists of many complex interactions which take a simple receptor activation at the taste bud, to a rich and emotional response such as that and is inexorably linked to emotions, memories and our quality of life. It is one of our richest senses, and yet remains one of the least studied. My lab uses state of the art biological techniqes to elucidate the nature of how and why we taste what we do. Publications
Research areas: Cardio-vasculor system Techniques: Functional genomics Research interests:Professor Davisson’s research focuses on the basic mechanisms of function, control, and signaling in the cardiovascular system in health and disease. Her investigations employ the interdisciplinary approach of “functional genomics,” a new endeavor at the interface of classical physiology and molecular genetics. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying hypertension, heart failure, and the pregnancy-induced cardiovascular syndrome pre-eclampsia are the main focuses of her research efforts. She has published numerous original research and review articles and book chapters and has given invited presentations throughout the United States as well as in South America, Europe, and Asia.
Research areas: Cell and molecular, gene expresssion Techniques: Electrophysiology, molecular and genetics Organisms used: Drosophila
Research interests: How are behaviors generated? This question remains a very challenging one. However, genetic model organisms can provide essential tools with which to probe different behaviors. The Deitcher laboratory is using the genetic and transgenic tools of Drosophila melanogaster to uncover the molecular mechanisms that underlie normal and abnormal behaviors. Our laboratory is also collaborating with the Bass lab in the study of communication and hearing in fish and with the Levitan lab on neuropeptide mobility and secretion.
Approximately 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy. While there are many different types of seizures, uncontrolled neural activity is shared by all forms of epilepsy. A class of Drosophila mutants, known as bang-sensitives, reproduces many aspects of the human disease. My laboratory has conducted screens to identify enhancers and suppressors of these bang-sensitives in order to identify pathways that regulate neuronal activity. Our hope is that the genes we identify in Drosophila will lead to the development of new drugs to treat the human disease.
In order for insects to grow larger and develop, they need to shed their old cuticle. The process of ecdysis involves stereotyped rhythmic muscle contractions that free the larva from the old cuticle. Ecdysis is initiated after a series of neuropeptide hormones are released in the proper sequence. We are studying when these neuropeptides are secreted using a GFP-tagged neuropeptide. We are also using RNAi to perturb the neuropeptide signaling process necessary for this behavior. Through both approaches we will dissect the sequence of events that lead to this simple behavior.
Drosophila males court females with a courtship song. Like many animals, this communication is important for mating success. What neurons are involved in this complex behavior? What genes regulate this process? We are investigating which genes are involved in generating the courtship song. We have found a transcription factor that affects the ability of males to produce the song. We are investigating how this transcription factor is involved in the network of neurons that produce the song. Publications
Research areas: Behavioral Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience Techniques: Behavioral Pharmacology, Immunotoxic Lesioning, Functional Neuroimaging Organisms used: Rats and Humans Research interests: My work can best be described as comparative cognitive neuroscience, which is characterized by two related approaches. One is a cross-species approach, comparing rat models of the neurochemistry of attention and learning to humans, focusing on the neurochemical acetylcholine. The other is an across lifespan approach, examining the cholinergic hypothesis of age-related changes in cognition.
Research areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Bird song Tecniques: Behavior, IEG mapping, anatomical trcaing Organisms used: Zebrafinch Research interests: I'm interested in neurobiology of learning and memory. My lab studies this using song learning in songbirds, and spatial learning in food-caching birds. Recent findings include the following: 1) Female zebra finches require experience with song during development in order to select normal over poor (isolate) conspecific song. Such birds also have fewer synapses in a an auditory perceptual brain area (Lauay et al., 2004,2005) 2) Species with elaborate song repertoires have larger song production brain areas than those with smaller repertoires (Moore et al., in prep.) 3) Chickadees injected in the hippocampus with an NMDA blocker do not form a long term memory of a food site. A CB-1 blocker causes improved memory for one site--but with reduced ability to modify the memory (Shiflett et al., 2003,2004) 4) Simply housing a chickadee in the lab results in hippocampal shrinkage and reduced survival of new neurons over birds in the wild (Tarr et al., in prep).
Research areas: Motor control, neuronal networks, hindbrain, spinal cord, sleep, spinal injury and regeneration. Techniques used:Behavioral studies, studies of fluorescently labeled neurons and proteins in living fish, imaging of neuronal activity in live animals, and electrophysiological studies. Organisms used: Zebrafish Research interests: Our lab: 1) studies how movements are produced by the brain and spinal cord of vertebrates; 2) explores strategies to restore function after spinal injury; and 3) studies the events that occur in the nervous system during sleep. We mostly use zebrafish as a model system because they allow us to combine genetic and optical methods with more conventional physiological approaches to attack the problems of interest to us.
Research areas: Development and evolution of the brain and visual system Techniques: Neuroanatomical techniques applied to development, quantitative microscopy, database management and modeling. Organisms used: Various mammals Research interests: Evo-devo and the evolution of the brain, perception and cognition. Publications
Research areas: Systems and Computational Neuroscience, Motor Control and Learning Techniques:Single unit recordings of identified cell classes in small, freely moving animals, optogenetic and pharmacological manipulations of neural activity during behavior, two photon calcium imaging, intracellular electrophysiology, computational modeling and analysis. Organisms used: Songbirds
Research interests: I seek to understand how the basal ganglia brain circuit contributes to motor learning and behavior. My central hypothesis is that the basal ganglia implement reinformcement learning to mediate the acquisition of learned motor skills.
Research areas: Dynamical systems, population biology, neuroscience, animal locomotion Techniques:Theoretical investigation, development of computer methods, studies of nonlinear systems. Research interests: Dynamical systems theory studies long time behavior of systems governed by deterministic rules. Even the simplest nonlinear dynamical systems can generate phenomena of bewildering complexity. Because formulas that describe the behavior of a system seldom exist, we rely on computer simulation to show how initial conditions evolve for particular systems. In carrying out simulations with many different systems, common patterns have been observed repeatedly. One of the main goals of dynamical systems theory is to discover these patterns and characterize their properties. The theory can then be used as a basis for description and interpretation of the dynamics of specific systems. It can also be used as the foundation for numerical algorithms that seek to analyze system behavior in ways that go beyond simulation. Throughout the theory, dependence of dynamical behavior upon system parameters has been an important topic. Bifurcation theory is the part of dynamical systems theory that systematically studies how systems change with varying parameters.
Research areas: Sensory systems, chemosensory functions and behaviors Techniques: Psychophysics; acoustic rhinometry and rhiomanometry Organisms used: Humans Research interests: Human retronasal olfaction; effects of microgravirty on smelling
Research areas: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, neural networks, central pattern generators, computational, motor networks, spinal cord Techniques: Electrophysiology, in vitro, imaging, immunocytochemistry, molecular biology, modeling. Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: We study the cellular and synaptic interactions of neural networks for simple behaviors. We focus on Central Pattern Generators, which organize rhythmic movements such as locomotion and respiration. Our current focus is on the mouse spinal locomotor CPG. We have three major projects: 1) Identify the interneurons that are components of the locomotor CPG, and their synaptic interconnections, using transgenic mice expressing fluorescent and other markers; 2) Study how neuromodulators such as serotonin modify the properties of the CPG neurons and connections, to allow flexibility in the motor pattern the network generates; 3) Study the consequences of spinal cord injury on network interneurons and their synapses, which undergo homeostatic changes following the loss of descending synaptic inputs from the brain. Our work is primarily electrophysiological and immunocytochemical; we collaborate with mathematicians to generate and study models of network function.
Research areas: Animal communication, neural coding, evolution of electrogenesis Techniques: Electrophysiology, molecular biology Organisms used: Electric fish Research interests: Our lab is broadly interested in neuroethology - the neural basis of animal behavior. We study mechanisms of animal communication including signal production, signal localization, and neural mechanisms for signal recognition. The focus is on the electrosensory modality of weakly electric fish.
Research areas: Auditory Neurosciences, Animal Communication, Comparative Bioacoustics, Comparative Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroethology Techniques: Neural recordings in semi-intact and intact nervous systems at the network level, field and lab recordings of acoustical signals during communication acts, neurohistology. Organisms used: Animals that use acoustic signals for communication or predator/prey detection; mosquitoes, crickets, drosophila, and many other insects. Research interests: Animal communication including human speech and sign; Neural/brain basis of animal and human perception; Multimodal sensory perception and neural processing. Publications
Research areas: Animal Behavior, mechanisms of social behavior, olfactory communication, social recognition and memory Techniques: Behavioral pharmacology Organisms used: Hamster Research interests: Animal behavior and mechanisms of social behavior; olfactory communication, especially in mammals; social recognition and memory (kin recognition, individual recognition, and recognition of sex, species and social status); sense of smell and the neural and hormonal mechanisms of behavior; central nervous system mechanisms of social recognition and memory; scent marking and especially scent over-marking as a sexually selected trait; field studies of social communication and social organization (presently on ground squirrels); cognitive approaches to social behavior in animals. Publications
Research areas: Cell and molecular, physiology. Techniques used: Patch clamp, imaging, stem cells Research interests:The Kotlikoff laboratory focuses on the molecular processes underlying excitation-contraction coupling and rhythmicity in cardiac and smooth muscle cells and the processes underlying muscle development. A major goal of the laboratory is to understand processes of intercellular communication and the generation of spontaneous electrical activity. Techniques used to study these processes include gene targeting, development of in vivo imaging methods using genetically targeted cell sensors, embryonic stem cell engraftment, patch clamp measurements of ion channel function, and in vivo imaging. Current projects in the laboratory include the study of the development of electrical activity in the embryonic heart, the use of embryonic cardiomyocytes and embryonic stem cells to alter electrical rhythm disturbances that occur after cardiac injury, the basis of spontaneous rhythm in smooth muscle tissues, and the development of genetically encoded sensors of cell signaling.
Research areas: Brain-machine interface Techniques:Micro and nano fabrication, ultrasound, new materials for neural interfaces Organisms used: Manduca Sexta Research interests: The SonicMEMS Laboratory, directed by Prof. Amit Lal, uses micro and nanofabrication methods to realize probes that can provide new imaging capabilities and new treatments for tissues, with tissue sample sizes from the micron-cube to cm-cube scales. High intensity ultrasound capability enables tissue cutting and near-zero penetration force in tissues. Integrated electrical electrodes for measuring bio-potentials have also been used to measure dielectric properties of tissue. Integrated strain-gauges on the probes can measure the contact forces and strain fields. We are using the probe technology to realize neural probes with integrated strain gauges to measure the microscale electromagnetic environment of the neural interface, a study intended to improve the reliability of brain-machine interfaces.
Research areas: Cell and molecular, development, genetics Techniques used: Mouse mutants, laser microdissection, single-cell RNA amplification, microarrays, tissue culture models Organisms used: Rodents Research interests:The Lin lab studies the development and degeneration of the nervous system using the mouse olfactory system as a model. During development, billions of neurons must form connections with their appropriate partners in order to form a functional nervous system. How is this remarkable process of axon guidance and target recognition accomplished? Once neurons are born, they are exposed to a variety of environmental insults that must be properly dealt with to avoid degeneration. Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are thought to arise in part due to a failure to deal with this increased stress. The olfactory system represents an excellent system in which to study both processes.
Research areas: Biophysics; exocytosis; mechanisms of vesicle fusion and transmitter release. Techniques used: Patch clamp technique, amperometry using a carbon fiber electrode Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: The mechanisms of exocytosis and endocytosis represent one of the most exciting topics in cell biology. The process of regulated exocytosis is responsible for release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides by nerve terminals and endocrine cells, release of enzymes or cytotoxic proteins by granulocytes, release of histamine and other mediators by mast cells, as well as several other secretory processes. During exocytosis the membrane of secretory granules fuses with the plasma membrane of the cell, allowing the secretory granules to release their contents through the fusion pore. Although biochemical studies revealed a set of proteins that are somehow involved, the mechanisms of fusion are still obscure. Functional studies of the fusion processes have revealed details of the dynamics of the fusion events and the combination of functional and biochemical techniques will be central to further elucidate the mechanism of exocytosis. We use a combination of molecular, biophysical and computational approaches to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of vesicle-plasma membrane tethering, fusion and transmitter release.
Research areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience Techniques: Computational modeling, behavioral pharamcology, in vivo electrophysiology Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: Neural coding and memory in the olfactory system; emphasis on neuromodulatory influences; combined approach using behavior, electrophysiology and computational modeling. Publications
Research areas: Cell and molecular Techniques used:Patch clamp, two-electrode voltage clamp, extracellular recording, quantitative real-time PCR, genetic engineering in mice, behavioral analysis. Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: We are interested in how and why specific ion channels contribute to 1) rapid information processing in the nervous system, and 2) experience-dependent plasticity in processing and behavior. We have focused on BK (Big calcium-activated K channels) in adrenaline-secreting chromaffin cells of the adrenal gland, where we have described stress- and steroid hormone-related regulation of transcription of the main pore-forming channel gene (Slo) and its Beta subunits, regulation of alternative splicing of Slo, and immediate effects of steroid hormones on channel function. Complementing neuroendocrine and behavioral experiments, we have used a comparative approach, as well, finding robust differences between species, genetic strains, sexes, and developmental stages.
Research areas: Electrical enginering, systems neuroscience Techniques: ECE, Neurobiology and Behavior Research interests: I am interested in nanoscale circuitry of all sorts, including transistor circuits manufactured in silicon and biological circuits of the nervous system. In silicon, I am especially interested in RF and mixed-signal integrated circuits, especially focusing on highly integrated, low-power system design. On the biological side, I am presently focusing primarily on understanding the neuronal code of the mammalian retina and uncovering the neural circuitry that underlies that code. I plan to bring these interests together in several ways. One is to work on developing the circuits and systems for improving the acquisition and subsequent handling of large quantities of data from massive multielectrode arrays. This could be combined with low power wireless design to build chronic wireless implants handling data from 100s of electrodes. At the same time, understanding the workings of neuronal circuits can inspire new silicon circuit ideas.
Research areas: Cellular and molecular biology, NMDA channels Techniques used: Cell cultures, whole cell voltage clamp, molecular techniques Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: Members of my laboratory are studying excitatory amino acid (EAA) or "glutamate" activated receptor-channels in the vertebrate central nervous system. The principal approach to these investigations involves recordings of EAA activated receptor-channels in mammalian brain neurons in primary culture and recombinant receptor-channels expressed in mammalian cell lines. Single channel recordings are employed to analyze basic biophysical parameters of receptor channel function. Whole cell voltage-clamp recordings are also combined with single cell molecular biology methods in an effort to ascertain the likely subunit compositions of pharmacologically and biophysically distinct receptor-channel subtypes observed in cerebellar granule neurons.
Research areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Behavioral Ecology, Cognitive Ecology Techniques used:Behavioral observation and manipulation in the lab and field, cellular neurochemistry, molecular biology Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: Research in my lab explores the relationships between existing individual variation in genes, brain and social behavior. We seek to identify the causal role of nonapeptides (oxytocin and vasopressin) on monogamous behavior, mating decisions, alternative reproductive tactics, and socio-spatial memory in both the field and lab through in vivo manipulation of early life experience, social context, and adult nonapeptide receptor expression. We also aim to understand the influence of nonapeptides on paternal behavior and the developmental consequences on offspring. A second line of developing research explores the natural variation in mating, exploratory, cognitive, and stress-coping behavior of African giant pouched rats, and the relation of these to genomic/transcriptomic variation.
Research areas: Molecular neurobiology and biophysics; neurotransmitter receptors and signal transduction. Techniques used: Organisms used: Research interests:Our research interests center on the structure and function of proteins involved in signal transduction. These include two important membrane proteins (nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and glutamate receptors) and an intracellular GTP binding protein (Cdc42Hs). Nicotinic acetylcholine and glutamate receptors are large membrane-bound proteins which mediate the flow of ions from the exterior to the interior of a cell following an interaction with a small organic molecule (i.e.,an agonist). Acetylcholine receptors are important neurotransmitter receptors in skeletal muscle, the peripheral nervous system, and the central nervous system; glutamate receptors are the primary excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the vertebrate central nervous system. Cdc42Hs is a soluble protein involved in signaling pathways related to the structure of cytoskeleton.
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Mathematics
Research areas: Applied and bio mathematics, biomechanics, differential equations and dynamical systems, dynamics and nonlinear systems. Techniques:Theoretical investigation, development of computer methods, studies of nonlinear systems. Research interests: Current research work involves using perturbation methods and bifurcation theory to obtain approximate solutions to differential equations arising from nonlinear dynamics problems in engineering and biology. Current projects involve differential delay equations, differential equations with fractional derivatives and dynamics of coupled oscillators. Bio applications include evolutionary dynamics, dynamics of gene copying, effects of biorhythms on retinal dynamics, cardiac arrythmias, and ecology of plant communities. These projects are typically conducted jointly with graduate students and with experts in the respective application area. Publications
Valerie Reyna is Professor and Co-Director of the Cornell University Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility and of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research. She is a developer of fuzzy-trace theory, a model of memory and decision-making, widely applied in law, medicine, and public health. Her recent work has focused on numeracy, medical decision making, risk communication, risk taking, neuroimaging, neurobiological models of development, and neurocognitive impairment and genetics. Past President of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, she is a Fellow of numerous scientific societies and has served on scientific panels of the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, MacArthur Foundation, and National Academy of Sciences..
Research areas: Imaging, disease, stroke Techniques: Chronic in vivo two-photon excited fluorescence microscopy, targeted ablation of biological structures with femtosecond laser pulses. Organisms used: Mice, rats, zebrafish Research interests: My lab develops and uses advanced optical techniques for in vivo studies of physiological processes in normal and diseased states. A primary area of current interest is the pathophysiology of small-scale stroke, which is thought to be caused by occlusions in the cerebral microvasculature and is linked to cognitive decline and increased incidence of neurodegenerative disorders. In an effort to model and understand these diseases, we occlude individual cerebral microvessels in rodent brain by optically injuring the vessel with femtosecond laser pulses, thereby triggering clotting. We then study the changes in flow in the vascular network as well as changes in the activity and health of downstream neurons using two-photon fluorescence microscopy. This work will determine the physiological consequences of cerebral microvessel lesions and, when combined with transgenic mice, will identify the role of such lesions in neurodegenerative disease. Projects include the development of nonlinear optical tools for novel surgical therapies for focal epilepsy, devising techniques for microscopic-scale imaging of myelin in the central nervous system, and optimizing optical techniques for delivering genetic material to a targeted cell. In addition, we have work on animal models of spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease, myeloproliferative disorders, and cancer metastasis. Lab
Research areas: Behavioral neuroscience, behaving animal recordings, hippocampal coding, context representation, learning and memory. Techniques: Electrophysiology, behavioral pharmacology Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: My research falls into the broad category of the neural mediation of learning and memory. It has become increasingly clear that complex cognitive functions arise from the interactions of multiple interconnected brain regions that comprise functional circuits. Therefore, I have adopted a systems level approach which involves simultaneously monitoring the neuronal activity in several interconnected brain regions during learning in rodents. This approach is especially powerful when combined with injections of micro-quantities of chemical inactivating agents directly into discrete brain regions in order to temporarily ‘knock out’ individual components of the circuit. In this way, the functioning of the healthy and temporarily ‘damaged’ circuits can be compared and the behavioral consequences of the damage can be assessed. Behavior is the cornerstone of this approach, so neuronal activity is monitored throughout learning using well-controlled training procedures. Changes in neuronal response patterns can then be specifically associated with learning and learning impairments can be attributed to damage within the circuit and the resulting disruption of neuronal response patterns.
Research areas: Cognitive neuroscience Techniques: MRI (Structural and functional brain imaging), behavioral testing Organisms used: Humans Research interests: My research examines large-scale brain network dynamics and their role in cognition. Currently, I am investigating the link between autobiography and imagination, how we conceive of the future, and successful navigation of the social world. These investigations extend to the related processes of memory, cognitive control, and social cognition and the interacting brain networks that support them. I am also actively involved in the development and implementation of multivariate and network-based statistical approaches to assess brain activity. In doing so, I hope to better understand the properties of the brain networks underlying complex cognitive processes as they change across the lifespan.
Research areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Nutrition Organisms used: Rodents Research interests:Strupp’s research primarily deals with causes of human cognitive dysfunction, studies that involve both children and rodent models. The goals of the animal studies are to determine the nature and underlying neural basis of the cognitive dysfunction, with implications for therapeutic intervention and for elucidating basic brain-cognition relationships. Current projects (described below) pertain to mouse models of Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, rodent and non-human primate models of childhood lead exposure, and a murine model of genetic and dietary alterations in folate status. Two human studies, one ongoing and one in the planning stages, pertain to the lasting cognitive effects of prenatal choline supplementation.
Neurobiology & Behavior
Research areas: Systems and computational neuroscience; cognitive neuroscience; motivation and reward; learning and memory; psychiatric disease models. Techniques: Optogenetics, awake behaving neurophysiology, patch clamp electrophysiology, behavior, imaging, molecular biology, pharmacology, immunohistochemistry, computational modeling and analysis. Organisms used: Rodents Research interests: Our lab investigates the neural circuitry underlying complex cognition and behavior, with a focus on circuits mediating reward, motivation, and learning and memory. We study these systems with both an observational and causal approach, combining monitoring and decoding of neural activity with optical control of genetically and topologically defined circuit elements. We are interested in both normal circuit function and dysfunction in psychiatric disease models. Systems of particular interest include the prefrontal cortex and its communication with neuromodulatory and limbic regions. Publications Warden Lab Site
Research areas: Molecular neurobiology and biophysics; neurotransmitter receptors and signal transduction. Techniques used: Molecular Biology Organisms used: Research interests: My general research interest is in the modulation of receptor properties by neurotransmitters and drugs. Currently we are studying the mechanisms of modulation of the nicotinic cholinergic receptor by its neurotransmitter acetylcholine and by the neuropeptide substance P. Nicotinic receptor responsiveness is regulated by acetylcholine and other cholinergic agonists via desensitization. In fact there are several desensitization processes each of which occurs on a different time scale, ranging from milliseconds to several minutes. Nicotinic receptor responsiveness also appears to be regulated physiologically by substance P, an eleven amino acid peptide that inhibits nicotinic receptor activation. One reason we have focused on both of these modulatory mechanisms is that they appear to be interrelated since at least part of the inhibition by substance P seems to be mediated by an increase in the rate and extent of desensitization.
Research areas: Techniques used: Organisms used: Research interests: My research examines the cognitive-affective processes that regulate behaviors within close relationships. I approach the study of the individual and his/her relationships from a multilevel, interdisciplinary perspective that bridges the study of attachment processes with research on executive control and self-regulation. Most important, I integrate this research within a unifying framework (Zayas, Shoda, & Ayduk, 2002).