TECHNIQUES

 
 

Brain-Slice Electrophysiology

Most all of our experiment use whole cell recordings from acute slices to examine cellular excitability and synaptic integration.  We record the electrical signals from neurons and excite synaptic inputs using a combination of electrical and optogenetic approaches.

 
 
 

2-Photon Microscopy

We use multiphoton microscopy in conjunction with electrophysiology experiments to identify synaptic connections and examine the regulation of synaptic inputs onto striatal neurons.

 
 
 

Optogenetics

We utilize light-activated ion channels in specific populations of neurons to drive neuronal activity with temporal precision.  We can flash light to selectively activate these neurons to probe how synaptic release from select inputs drives alterations in cellular activity.

 
 
 

Fast-Scan Cyclic Voltammetry

We use electrochemistry with a carbon-fiber electrode to measure the extracellular concentration of dopamine and noradrenaline.  By simultaneously combining whole-cell electrophysiology with voltammetry we can relate the timing and amount of catecholamine release to its actions at post-synaptic GPCRs.

 
 
 

Viral-Mediated Gene Transfer

Many studies in our lab use a variety of viruses to drive overexpression of channels and fluorescent reporter proteins. We target expression with the use of genetic and viral (LoxP-Cre) strategies.  Using a combination of approaches we can alter expression in a cell type-specific manner and map synaptic connections between neurons.