what we do

Neurons in the cerebral cortex provide the biological substrate for the higher cognitive functions that define us as individuals. Our laboratory is investigating the signaling mechanisms by which information is communicated within and between cortical neurons. Of special interest are the actions of neuromodulators such as serotonin, acetylcholine, and catecholamines, that dynamically regulate information processing in cortical neurons and which are implicated in several debilitating neurological disorders in humans. Our long-term goal is to understand the specific cellular mechanisms by which these neuromodulators influence information processing within cortical circuits, and thereby elucidate their contribution to cognition.


To study the cellular actions of these transmitters, we use electrophysiological and imaging methods to record activity in individual neurons in cortical slices. Because there are many diverse classes of neurons in the cortex, and because these transmitters often have five or more receptor subtypes linked to different signaling pathways, a single transmitter can have many effects on cellular activity. For instance, acetylcholine can be both excitatory and/or inhibitory, depending upon the type of neuron and the duration of exposure to the transmitter. Revealing the interaction of these multiple signaling mechanisms is a core focus of the laboratory.


Those interested in conducting experiments in cortical physiology should contact the lab regarding post-graduate and post-doctoral positions in the lab.