I am interested in understanding how small groups of neurons in the central nervous system function together. At the cellular level, we study the ionic currents that influence a neuron's intrinsic properties. These currents determine the physiology of different classes of neurons such as bursting pyramidal cells and fast-spiking interneurons. We also study the function and plasticity of synaptic connections made between different neurons.
My laboratory approaches these issues using both electrophysiology, primarily whole cell patch clamp recordings, and optical imaging techniques in acute brain slices. At the systems level, we work to integrate our knowledge about the cellular properties of different types of neurons and their synaptic interconnections to produce models of activity in local microcircuits. These models are explored by activating synaptic inputs that drive local circuits and by looking for collective behaviors generated by cell assemblies. The latter approach has been especially useful in understanding the local circuit connections that mediate synchronized discharges and network oscillations.