The Brown Lab is focused on the function of the cerebral cortex in the brain, which underlies o...ur ability to interact with our environment through sensory perception and voluntary movement. Our research takes a bottom-up approach to understanding how the circuits of this massively interconnected network of neurons are functionally organized, and how dysfunction in these circuits contributes to neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.
By combining electrophysiological and optogenetic approaches with anatomical and genetic techniques for identifying cell populations and pathways, the Brown Lab is defining the synaptic interactions among different classes of cortical neurons and determining how long-range and local inputs are integrated within cortical circuits.
In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, corticospinal and spinal motor neurons progressively degenerate. The Brown Lab is examining how abnormal activity within cortical circuits contributes to the selective degeneration of corticospinal motor neurons in an effort to identify new mechanisms for treating this disease.
Abnormalities in the organization of cortical circuits and synapses have been identified in genetic and anatomical studies of neuropsychiatric disease. We are interested in the impact these abnormalities have on cortical processing and their contribution to the disordered cognition typical of autism and schizophrenia.
The Bergles Laboratory studies synaptic physiology, with an emphasis on glutamate transporters ...and glial involvement in neuronal signaling. We are interested in understanding the mechanisms by which neurons and glial cells interact to support normal communication in the nervous system.
The lab studies glutamate transport physiology and function. Because glutamate transporters play a critical role in glutamate homeostasis, understanding the transporters' function is relevant to numerous neurological ailments, including stroke, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Other research in the laboratory focuses on signaling between neurons and glial cells at synapses. Understanding how neurons and cells communicate, may lead to new approaches for stimulating re-myelination following injury or disease. Additional research in the lab examines how a unique form of glia-to-neuron signaling in the cochlea influences auditory system development, whether defects in cell communication lead to certain hereditary forms of hearing impairment, and if similar mechanisms are related to sound-induced tinnitus.
The Paul Worley Lab examines the molecular basis of learning and memory. In particular, we clon...ed a set of immediate early genes (IEGs) that are rapidly transcribed in neurons involved in information processing, and that are essential for long term memory. IEG proteins can directly modify synapses and provide insight into cellular mechanisms that support synapse-specific plasticity.
Investigators in the Roger Johns Lab are examining the molecular mechanisms behind the onset an...d continuation of chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain. This work has led to a better understanding of the vast network of molecules at neuronal synapses, particularly the postsynaptic density (PSD), which is key to the propagation of pain signals. We're working to develop new analgesics that interfere with the PSD protein interactions in an effort to better treat patients who suffer from chronic pain.view more
The Systems neurobiology Laboratory is a group of laboratories that all study various aspects o...f neurobiology. These laboratories include: (1) computational neurobiology Laboratory: The goal of their research is to build bridges between brain levels from the biophysical properties of synapses to the function of neural systems.
(2) computational Principles of Natural Sensory Processing: Research in this lab focuses on the computational principles of how the brain processes information.
(3) Laboratory for Cognitive neuroscience: This laboratory studies the neural and genetic underpinnings of language and cognition.
(4) Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical neurobiology: The goal of this laboratory is develop a theoretical infrastructure for modern experimental neurobiology.
(5) Organization and development of visual cortex: This laboratory is studying the organization and function of neural circuits in the visual cortex to understand how specific neural components enable visual perception and to elucidate the basic neural mechanisms that underlie cortical function.
(6) Neural mechanism of selective visual attention: This laboratory studies the neural mechanisms of selective visual attention at the level of the individual neuron and cortical circuit, and relates these findings to perception and conscious awareness.
(7) Neural basis of vision: This laboratory studies how sensory signals in the brain become integrated to form neuronal representation of the objects that people see.