Dept.: Assistant Investigator, Allen Institute for Brain Science; Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Structure
Neuroscience Focus Group:
To understand how the brain functions in health and disease, we need to understand better its structure – what are the essential components, how many cell types exist, and how are they interconnected with each other in local circuits and across long distances? We recently generated the first whole brain structural connectome of the normal young adult mouse brain, an open access resource enabling new research efforts into defining structure/function relationships at the inter-areal network level. Now, we are pursuing two new areas of focus. First, we use the mouse visual system to explore the relationships between inter-areal anatomical connectivity and the computations that underlie visual perception and behavior in cognitively normal mice. Second, we aim to understand the effects of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which causes cognitive deficits, on large scale network connectivity patterns, with a specific focus on vulnerable brain regions and cell types. For both research goals, in order to map brain wide cell type-specific connections, we primarily use or develop new genetic tools, for example, labeling neurons with recombinant viral vectors in combination with Cre driver transgenic mouse lines or mouse models of AD. Whole brain axonal projections and inputs are imaged with advanced 2P microscopy systems, and resulting data is analyzed in collaboration with computational scientists.