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The Dölen lab studies the synaptic and circuit mechanisms that enable social behaviors. We use a variety of techniques including whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology, viral mediated gene transfer, optogenetics, and behavior. We are also interested in understanding how these synaptic and circuit mechanisms are disrupted in autism and schizophrenia, diseases which are characterized by social cognition deficits. More recently we have become interested in the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs for diseases like addiction and PTSD that respond to social influence or are aggravated by social injury, We are currently using both transgenic mouse and octopus to model disease.
Dr. Haughey directs a disease-oriented research program that address questions in basic neurobiology, and clinical neurology. The primary research interests of the laboratory are:
1. To identify biomarkers markers for neurodegenerative diseases including HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. In these studies, blood and cerebral spinal fluid samples obtained from ongoing clinical studies are analyzed for metabolic profiles through a variety of biochemical, mass spectrometry and bioinformatic techniques. These biomarkers can then be used in the diagnosis of disease, as prognostic indicators to predict disease trajectory, or as surrogate markers to track the effectiveness of disease modifying interventions.
2. To better understand how the lipid components of neuronal, and glial membranes interact with proteins to regulate signal transduction associated with differentiation, motility, inflammatory signaling, survival, and neuronal excitab...ility.
3. To understand how extracellular vesicles (exosomes) released from brain resident cells regulate neuronal excitability, neural network activity, and peripheral immune responses to central nervous system damage and infections.
4. To develop small molecule therapeutics that regulate lipid metabolism as a neuroprotective and restorative strategy for neurodegenerative conditions. view more