We are investigating how diverse neuronal cell types interact within prefrontal microcircuits to mediate various cognitive processes; how they are modulated by monoamines and neurosteroids; and how prefrontal circuits function within systems-level networks. We are particularly interested in how stress, sleep, and other circadian rhythms interact to regulate synaptic remodeling in corticolimbic circuits, especially during adolescence and young adulthood, when major psychiatric disorders most commonly emerge. Our studies leverage a variety of optogenetic tools, two-photon microscopy and other imaging modalities, behavioral assays, and functional MRI in rodent models, healthy humans subjects, and clinical populations.
In the long-term, our work may help to explain how dysregulated synaptic remodeling contributes to circuit dysfunction and ultimately, to the pathogenesis of affective disorders and other neurospsychiatric diseases. This, in turn, may facilitate the development of new treatment modalities and prognostic biomarkers derived from a systems-level understanding of circuit dysfunction in neuropsychiatic diseases.