Education & Certifications
Bachelor of Arts, Amherst College, Neuroscience (2008)
The serotonin system powerfully modulates physiology and behavior in health and disease, yet the circuit mechanisms underlying serotonin neuron activity are poorly understood. The major source of forebrain serotonergic innervation is from the dorsal raphe nucleus (DR), which contains both serotonin and GABA neurons. Using viral tracing combined with electrophysiology, we found that GABA and serotonin neurons in the DR receive excitatory, inhibitory, and peptidergic inputs from the same specific brain regions. Embedded in this overall similarity are important differences. Serotonin neurons are more likely to receive synaptic inputs from anterior neocortex while GABA neurons receive disproportionally higher input from the central amygdala. Local input mapping revealed extensive serotonin-serotonin as well as GABA-serotonin connectivity with a distinct spatial organization. Covariance analysis suggests heterogeneity of both serotonin and GABA neurons with respect to the inputs they receive. These analyses provide a foundation for further functional dissection of the serotonin system.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.06.024
View details for PubMedID 25102560
Targeting genetically encoded tools for neural circuit dissection to relevant cellular populations is a major challenge in neurobiology. We developed an approach, targeted recombination in active populations (TRAP), to obtain genetic access to neurons that were activated by defined stimuli. This method utilizes mice in which the tamoxifen-dependent recombinase CreER(T2) is expressed in an activity-dependent manner from the loci of the immediate early genes Arc and Fos. Active cells that express CreER(T2) can only undergo recombination when tamoxifen is present, allowing genetic access to neurons that are active during a time window of less than 12 hr. We show that TRAP can provide selective access to neurons activated by specific somatosensory, visual, and auditory stimuli and by experience in a novel environment. When combined with tools for labeling, tracing, recording, and manipulating neurons, TRAP offers a powerful approach for understanding how the brain processes information and generates behavior.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.03.025
View details for Web of Science ID 000320743400005