Jenna McHenry, PhD, PI
- Ph.D., Florida State University 2013
- Postdoctoral NIMH Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013-2018
The goal of the research in my lab is to define the fixed and flexible features of molecularly defined neural circuits that direct ethological forms of social and nonsocial motivated behavior. We focus on hypothalamic subnuclei within key social and homeostatic control centers, and their connections with midbrain dopaminergic reward systems. We employ a broad range of modern neuroscience techniques, including optogenetics, in vivo deep-brain calcium imaging using 2-photon microscopy and miniaturized epifluorescent microscopes, confocal and light-sheet microscopy, viral/genetic targeting, whole-organ tissue clearing, and advanced quantitative analysis of complex neural and social behavior datasets. We specialize in deep-brain in vivo microscopy, to record from multiple units of analysis (cells, circuits, ethological behaviors) and track networks over chronic time periods in awake behaving states. Together, our studies provide into novel insights into circuit processing that directs social and affective states that are often disrupted among Autism Spectrum Disorders, Reproductive Mood Disorders, Eating Disorders, and Major Depression.