Alien invasion. J Neurosci 2020, 40(47), Cover
Photo by: Faith Brennan, PhD
3rd Place, 2020 DNS Photomicrography Competition



Our brains constantly process information, integrating environmental stimuli with past experiences and internal states. Misinterpretation and inappropriate reactions to stimuli are characteristic of many neuropsychiatric diseases. We use neural recording and modeling techniques to understand computational principles and how these go awry in disease.

Neural and Glial Circuits

Information is processed and stored in the brain by vast networks of interconnected neurons. The normal operation of these neural networks is supported and regulated by glia, another major cell type in the brain that also form intricate networks. We use advanced techniques in molecular genetics, electrophysiology, and imaging to understand the structure and function of these circuits.

Neural Development and Regeneration

The entire nervous system, consisting of over 100 different types of cells and trillions of synaptic connections, must build itself during development. Understanding how these different cell types are produced and interact is crucial for treating disorders such as autism and epilepsy, and for advancing promising therapies in regenerative medicine. To learn the mechanisms underlying neural development and harness such knowledge for nervous system repair, we are using single-cell RNA-sequencing, electrophysiology, imaging, and behavior in a variety of transgenic animal models both in vitro and in vivo.


Brain and spinal cord trauma have a profound impact on overall health that extends far beyond the site of the injury. We apply a multidisciplinary approach to develop treatments, leveraging expertise in advanced animal models of injury, cutting-edge imaging techniques, single-cell transcriptomics, and in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology.


Brain and spinal cord injuries trigger an inflammatory response that can both help and hinder nervous system recovery. We are using sophisticated in vivo and in vitro models to understand the long-term consequences of this immune response to devise novel ways to repair damaged tissue.

Neurodegenerative Disease

Neurodegenerative diseases have debilitating effects on people’s lives impairing cognitive and motor function. We use animal and in vitro models to study the causes of neurodegenerative disease with the aim of developing therapeutic interventions that alleviate neurodegenerative diseases.

Neural Mechanisms of Behavior

Humans and animals interact with the environment through behavior and the planning and execution of actions are a major function of our brain. We use behavioral and neural recordings in animal models to understand how brains interpret the environment to create behaviors in baseline and disease states.

Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms

Neurons are among the most complex cells in the body. We use imaging, genomics and proteomics tools in vitro and in whole animal systems to understand how neurons establish and maintain their cellular function. Understanding these mechanisms allows critical insight into what goes awry in disease states when neurons cannot maintain their structure and function.

Faculty Positions in Neuroscience

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