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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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, 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: 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