Our lab is interested in the cellular and molecular underpinnings of brain function in neurological disease and disorders. Regardless of whether there are deficits in neurotransmitter release, ligand-gated channels or voltage-gated channels, many brain pathologies can be considered dendritic disorders. Direct investigation of the dendrites, using electrophysiological recording, calcium imaging, two-photon photolysis of caged glutamate, and/or optogenetic stimulation, is necessary in order to properly understand the cellular physiology of these conditions.
A theme of our research is to establish a mechanistic link between pathological changes in synaptic and dendritic function, with an emphasis on voltage-gated ion channels, and behavioral phenotypes in neurological diseases and disorders. We employ a broad array of techniques including the preparation of acute brain slices, elcectrophysiological recording including direct dendritic recording, patch clamp recording, electrical and optogenetic synaptic stimulation and two-photon calcium imaging. We supplement these approaches with immunohistochemistry, western blotting, and neuronal reconstruction . Our research includes the pathophysiology of cortical neurons in rodent models of neurological disease – including Fragile X syndrome, temporal lobe epilepsy, depression, and tuberosclerosis.