Our lab focuses on understanding neural circuits that integrate cognitive and motor control of behavior. To do this we use a range of electrophysiological, genetic, anatomical and behavioral techniques in rodent models. We are particularly interested in how modulatory clusters alter activity in distal target networks and modify behavioral output. We are also interested in how the loss of specific neural populations in neurodegenerative disorders impacts broader neural networks and motor function. Our overarching goals are to characterize the neural and physiological mechanisms underlying cognitive and motor behavior to apply this information in identifying treatments for circuit dysfunction in disease
Our current research focuses on the influence of locus coeruleus norephinephrine input to cortical targets. We are interested in how changes in firing patterns of locus coeruleus neurons alter function of different cortical regions, and how this may impact cortical processing of incoming sensory information and responses to sensory cues. We are investigating how locus coeruleus integrity and noradrenergic function impacts decision execution and motor planning in normal functioning subjects as well as models of pathological states that disrupt cognitive function including neurodegenerative disorders, chronic stress, and attention deficit disorder.
- BS University of Auckland, NZ, 2003
- PhD University of Auckland, NZ, 2009
- Postdoctoral Training Medical University of South Carolina