(Turn and face the strange*)
This program addresses how orofacial motor actions that underlie exploration and foraging, with current emphasis on the lingual, vibrissa, and heading sensorimotor systems, encode a stable world view through the coordinated movement of sensory organs and sensors. It includes decoding of vibrissa touch in the presence of self-movement. Our program is motivated by a desire to discover engineering-like principles 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, electro- and opto-physiological, and theoretical components.
This program explores the vascular connectome for the brain 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 - given vasomotion and 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 microstrokes and aspects of neuroinflammation. This program includes anatomical, computational, electro- and opto-physiological, and functional imaging components.
We maintain an ongoing effort to develop tools that advance 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 novel guide-stars and two-photon microscopy; and (2) construction of an active digital atlas of the mouse brain and automated registration based on microscopic texture of brain tissue, with current emphasis on the brainstem.