Cortical neurons can receive up to 10,000 synaptic inputs from dozens of different sources. How do these inputs integrate to generate neuronal firing? How does the local microcircuit and the cell’s neurochemical environment regulate the relative strength of the incoming synapses? How do changes associated with neuropsychiatric conditions, like chronic stress, erode the delicate balance of neuronal circuits and result in degrading cognitive performance? These are the core questions we are exploring in the Neuronal Signal Integration Lab.
We utilize a multi-level approach to uncover fundamental principles of signal integration. To probe the cellular and circuit mechanisms of synaptic summation, the 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.
Neuronal signal integration, chronic and acute stress, cognitive behavior, optical techniques