The Kozorovitskiy lab focuses on two broad, inter-related themes: decoding neuromodulation and neural circuit design principles. We seek to address the following questions:
– What activity-dependent rules govern the design of neural circuits and synapses in early life?
– How are these rules updated by experience and broken in disease?
– What is the function of neuromodulation during development and in behavior?
– How do multiplexed neuromodulatory systems operate?
We investigate these questions primarily, but not exclusively, in the basal ganglia, a phylogenetically ancient region of the brain essential for complex, goal directed motor actions and reward-based behavior. One of our primary current interests is the influence of neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, GABA and dopamine, on synaptic development and neural circuit integration. To address these questions, we rely on 2-photon imaging and 2-photon neurotransmitter photorelease, whole-cell electrophysiology, opto- and pharmacogenetics, neuroanatomy, computational and behavioral analyses.