The goal of our laboratory is to understand the mechanisms that underlie synaptic and circuit plasticity in the developing and mature mammalian central nervous system. We are particularly interested in how plasticity influences the function of the thalamus, a subcortical region of the brain that is responsible for the processing of sensory information as it is transmitted to the cortex. We have found that thalamic circuits exhibit robust changes in network connectivity over development that shapes the nature of the information transmitted. In the mature circuit, synaptic mechanisms also contribute to the dynamic changes in transmission that critically modulate thalamocortical activity.
We use a combination of tools, including patch clamp slice electrophysiology, in vitro and in vivo optical imaging methods, along with genetically altered mouse strains, optogenetics and pharmacogenetics to examine the regulation of synaptic circuits in the visual system.