Child Health & Wellness Researcher
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
My research uses novel technical approaches to reveal key features of how neural circuits that regulate an organism’s internal state are also purposed to control behaviour and remember specific experiences. I use a combination of electrophysiology, behavioral analysis, functional imaging, and optogenetics to characterize how the brain decodes stress and generates distinct behaviors. Using circuit mapping approaches and behavioral analysis tools we developed, my work has linked brief stress exposure to specific coping strategies, shown that stress controllability can be used to train specific cell populations in the brain to alter innate behavior and revealed brain mechanisms responsible for the transmission and buffering of stress between individuals.
We are now applying these approaches to better understand neural circuit deficits in mouse models of ASD. We have ongoing collaborations with ACHRI member, Dr. Deborah Kurrasch to assess behavior and circuit deficits in offspring of dams treated with bisphenol A and a new collaboration with Dr. Jiami Guo to probe potential roles for cerebellar output neurons in Williams Syndrome.