The Cellular Neuroscience faculty study how the properties of individual neurons and the synaptic interactions between neurons contribute to neural computations that ultimately generate animal behavior. There is a strong interest in chemical synaptic transmission, including the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for synapse formation (Washbourne), synaptic physiology at several levels of auditory processing (Roberts, Wehr, Takahashi), the balance between excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission (Wehr), long-tern potentiation (Kentros), and synaptic interactions among neurons that generate chemotaxis and other behaviors in the simple nervous system of C. elegans (Lockery). We use a wide and ever-changing variety of methods in these studies, including many types of intracellular and extracellular electrical recording (Roberts, Lockery, Wehr, O’Day, Takahashi, Kentros), genetically-encoded systems for stimulating and recording neural activity optically and by other means (Lockery, Kentros, Wehr), and microscopy methods such as electron tomography (Roberts), confocal and two-photon fluorescence microscopy and calcium imaging (Lockery). We also have a strong interest in computational approaches to understanding cellular properties and synaptic interactions (Lockery, Roberts, Takahashi, Wehr) that generate patterns of neural activity.
Neuronal basis of spatial orientation behaviors in the nematode C. elegans
Cellular signaling; electrophysiological, biochemical, and mutational analysis of visual processing; phototransduction, adaptation, and ion transport; efferent modulation of cellular function.
Signal processing in developmental and sensory systems; synaptic transmission; calcium signaling
Molecular mechanisms of synapse formation
Studies of neural circuits underlying learning and memory studied a combination of electrophysiology, behavior, & mouse molecular genetics
Neural mechanisms of spatial hearing in owls and humans
How local circuits in the cerebral cortex encode and transform sensory information