We use many techniques to study the integrative functions of the brain.
Our lab has 7 rooms designed specifically for the analysis of rodent behavior, equipped with operant chambers for physiology and behavior, data acquisition systems for multi-electrode recording from behaving mice and rats, and a whole-cell slice patch-clamp station for the study of synaptic transmission and plasticity.
- Reward-guided behaviors: We use instrumental/operant and Pavlovian methods to study the appetitive behavior of rats and mice. We are refining such methods to allow unprecedented quantitative analysis of the behavior in question.
- In vivo recording: We use multielectrode arrays to record up to hundreds of neurons from multiple brain structures in awake and behaving mice and rats. Single-unit activity, multi-unit activity, as well as local field potential will be recorded from multiple brain regions that form a functional circuit.
- In vitro (and ex vivo) whole-cell patch-clamp recording: We use whole-cell patchclamprecordingfromsingleneuronstocharacterize the effects of different types of learning on cellular propertiessuchassynapticstrength,excitability, andother aspects of synaptictransmission. We also study the synaptic pharmacology of neurons in the basal ganglia.
- Genetic tools: We take advantage of a variety of genetic tools available in mice to visualize specific neural circuits andto identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying behavior. We use standard optogenetic techniques to activate and inactivate specific neuronalpopulations.