Faculty Director: Mikhail V. Pletnikov, M.D., Ph.D
Our laboratory is interested in the neurobiology of neurodevelopmental diseases such as schizophrenia and autism. The major focus of the laboratory is on identifying the molecular mechanisms whereby adverse environmental factors interact with one another and/or genetic variants associated to affect brain and behavior development. We explore these mechanisms in a cell type- and circuit-specific manner, using methods of cell and molecular biology, neuroimmunology, neurochemistry, psychopharmacology and developmental psychobiology.
In collaboration with the laboratories of Drs. Dwight Bergles and Solange Brown (Neuroscience), we investigate the contribution of astrocyte bioenergetics to maturation of neuronal circuits involved in cognitive function. We also study the role of non-neuronal cells in mediating adverse effects of drugs of abuse, including opioids, cannabis, and psychedelic compounds. Projects include collaborations with the laboratories of the NIDA Center for Addiction Research directed by Dr. Solomon H. Snyder (Neuroscience). In collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Robert Yolken (Pediatrics), we elucidate the role of gut microbiome in the pathophysiological mechanisms of drug addiction and cognitive impairments.
Undergraduate, graduate students, fellows, and faculty members are welcome to join the laboratory to participate in pre-clinical research training and/or collaborations.