We design systems to interact with complex neural circuits in vivo in behaving rodents. These systems enable us to explore how information is processed, stored, and retrieved in both healthy brains and in models of human neurological diseases and disorders. We’re focused on two areas: memory and deep brain stimulation.
Forming, storing, and using memory requires the hippocampus. We are developing systems that translate ongoing neural activity into information and use this to manipulate the hippocampal circuit in real-time. Why is that useful? We hope to build systems that will, for example, allow us to selectively inhibit the recall or long-term storage of traumatic episodes. More information.
DBS - stimulation of midbrain regions with implanted electrodes - currently benefits patients with Parkinson's disease despite its side effects and crude stimulation patterns. By understanding information flows in movement-generating neural circuits in healthy brains, how this flow is disrupted by disease, and how DBS changes the flow, we hope to optimize DBS stimulation to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize side effects. More information.
Our lab employs standard and cutting-edge techniques: simultaneously recording the activity of dozens of neurons in behaving rodents and manipulating genetically-selected populations of neurons using light (“optogenetics”). We also are developing a number of open source software and embedded systems tools for neuroscience and neural engineering that we are eager to share. More information about tools for neuroscience and neural engineering.