We explore how rewarding and aversive experiences influence plasticity mechanisms that undergird hippocampal network dynamics and behavior throughout life. Using a variety of molecular, cellular, biochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral methods, we are studying how learning and stress alter neurogenesis, glial reactivity, and perineuronal nets to modulate neuronal circuitry underlying hippocampus-dependent behavioral functions, including social and nonsocial memory, and avoidance behavior.
We examine the influence of genetic mutations on plasticity mechanisms, neuronal oscillations, and behavior in mice. We study how social and nonsocial cognition develops and is maintained in healthy and impaired mice, using transgenic models based on GWAS studies in humans. Using chemogenetics, in vivo electrophysiology, behavioral analyses, and high-resolution imaging approaches, we explore the microcircuits, cells, and extracellular constituents underlying these important functions.
HORMONES AND NEUROSTEROIDS
We investigate how steroid hormones and neurosteroids influence hippocampal plasticity mechanisms, neuronal oscillations, and behavior. We examine how sex differences and naturally occurring changes in steroids across the estrous cycle influence structural plasticity, neuronal oscillations, and hippocampus-related behavioral function. Steroid hormones and neurosteroids are regulated by both experience and genes, connections that we are currently exploring in the lab.