(Turn and face the strange*)
This program addresses how orofacial motor actions that underlie exploration and foraging, with current emphasis on the lingual, nasal, and vibrissa sensorimotor systems, encode a stable world view through the coordinated movement of sensory organs and sensors. It is motivated by the prospect to discover engineering-like principles, and hopefully principles unique to biology, that explain the design and function of a nervous systems within the confines of rodent-based experiments. The program includes anatomical, behavioral, computational, functional imaging, and electro- and opto-physiological components.
This program explores vascular structure and neuronal and vascular control of blood flow throughout the brain. Simply, how does nature ensure adequate flow throughout the half-kilometer of microvessels - in a mouse brain - under changes in metabolic load and neurological state. We further address the consequences of interruptions to flow at the level of individual microvessels as a means to understand nmicrostrokes and aspects of neuroimflammation. This program includes anatomical, computational, electro- and opto-physiological, and functional imaging components.
We maintain an ongoing effort to develop tools for our scientific studies. We currently focus on: (1) imaging of somas, axons, and spines deep within structurally complex tissue, like the brainstem, through the use of adaptive optics with two-photon microscopy; (2) construction of an active digital atlas of the mouse brain, with current emphasis on the brainstem; and (3) measurement and control of neuromodulation in foraging animals using nanoMolar affinity molecular sensors for real-time feedback and reinforcement learning.