My main research goal is to elucidate the causal relationship between discrete neural circuit interactions and their consequent complex behavioral states. To accomplish this challenge, I utilize a full toolbox of innovative neural circuit tracing and manipulation strategies. Specifically, I use optogenetics to unlock particular neural circuits for in-depth analysis of the connections between specific cell types and to manipulate discrete networks of neurons independently with precise temporal control. In addition, I apply these cell type-specific tools to gain discrete access to the firing profiles of specific neurons during different motivated processes by combining optogenetic techniques with in vivo electrophysiology, allowing me to evaluate how distinct neural networks encode different aspects of a complex behavioral state.
2012-2014, NRSA from NIMH