Function, assembly, and plasticity of neuronal circuits
Brains are uniquely adapted to solve quintessential survival problems that face an individual in its daily life. Thus, our brains must both accurately represent (encode) stimuli in the outside world and use that representation to generate appropriate behavioral actions. The sensory representation of the environment is established during early development and is further shaped by early life experience. Therefore our research focuses on understanding how our experience of and interaction with the world shapes our brains and thus who we are.
Since the human brain is a very complex neuronal circuit we are investigating key questions on a circuit level: how does this circuit work, how does it wire up during development, and how is experience shaping this process?
To begin to answer these questions we investigate the circuits present in the developing and adult brain, their function, and their influence of brain development and plasticity. One focus is on probing the response of the brain to sensory stimuli and the other is to analyze the function of small sub-circuits in great detail. We are particularly interested in circuits that underlie the formation of the functional architecture of the sensory cortex and circuits underlying plasticity in both the very young (fetal and neonatal) and adult brain.
A more detailed description of the various research directions is found here.
Because audition is a key sense underlying both human and animal communication we are addressing most of our questions by studies in the primary auditory cortex using many different in vivo and in vitro approaches such as patch clamp recordings, in vivo 2-photon Ca imaging, in vivo optical stimulation, multi-electrode recordings, laser-scanning photostimulation etc.. Our work is supported by NIDCD , NEI, AFOSR, and the BRAIN initiative.
We have postdoctoral positions available. Contact us!
Research images above by Patrick Kanold, Sarada Viswanathan and Sharba Bandyopadhyay