The primary goal of my research is to understand how neurons summate synaptic input from various modalities and how changes in the cells’ neurochemical environment regulate this integration. I am particularly interested in the interaction of feed forward pathways, carrying sensory input and feed-back circuits conveying contextual information.
I am utilizing a multi-level approach to uncover fundamental principles of signal integration. To probe the cellular and circuit mechanisms of synaptic summation my lab combines whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology with dual-color optogenetic stimulation in acute brain slices. Then, to test our predictions generated based on slice data we employ optical methods to measure and perturb neuronal activity during behavior.
I have a strong background in cell biology from working with Dr. Alexei Tepikin and Dr. Ole Petersen as a graduate student in the Department of Physiology at the University of Liverpool, UK. My PhD work focused on protein interactions regulating calcium release- and entry mechanisms in non-excitable cells. I then applied my expertise in cellular signaling to synaptic biology in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Higley at Yale Medical School. At Yale I expanded my skill-set with neurophysiology and state of the art optical techniques to observe and manipulate neuronal activity in vitro as well as in vivo. This training has provided me with a broad foundation ranging from molecular biology to systems neuroscience. As an independent investigator, I focus on topics that not only expand our knowledge of the nervous system but also have the potential to benefit society at large via translational applications.