My lab investigates molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying behavior and cognition.
In animals, we use genetics, molecular biology and biophysics to study transmissome, including chemical transmitters and receptors. We generate mutant flies and rodents that lack a transmitter or its receptor to determine their roles. Neural circuits of defined neurochemistry are revealed anatomically by modern imaging and manipulated functionally by logic gates created by specific transcriptional promoters. Our transmissome approach has led to discoveries of molecules and cells regulating sleep and social behaviors. We demonstrate that it is possible to identify neurotransmitters and receptors for different behaviors.
In humans, we use genetics, genomics and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate genes and brain regions important for behavior and cognition.
Our goal is to identify neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain for behavior and cognition. Mechanisms conserved from animals to humans allow fundamental understanding of behaviors of evolutionary significance. Mechanisms unique to humans help to further the understanding of ourselves.