My lab studies organization, dynamics and functions of hypothalamic neuronal circuits in feeding behaviors, arousal and locomotion (e.g. Carus-Cadavieco et al., Nature 2017; Herrera et al., Nature Neuroscience 2016). We aim to understand neuronal mechanisms of these innate behaviors in health and pathology. Sleep disorders, reduced arousal as well as reduced thirst represent major health problems in elderly population. Combining optogenetics, electrophysiological recordings in transgenic behaving mice and calcium imaging, we aim to investigate changes of neural circuitries involved in the regulation of innate behaviors in aging, to identify, which neuronal groups and neural dynamics underlie these changes, and to study consequences of optogenetically restored physiological signaling within hypothalamic circuits.
Possible PhD projects will focus on investigation of hypothalamic circuits in adult and aged mice. The projects aim to identify the changes of hypothalamic circuitries occuring during aging, to characterize involvement of these changes in the regulation of innate functions, including arousal and sleep, and to study neurochemically defined neuronal groups and various patterns of neural dynamics that may underlie aging-related changes. These studies will gain insight into neuronal mechanisms of sleep and arousal in health and pathology.
We apply a combination of the following methods in behaving transgenic mice:
Optimism and curiosity. Experience in in vivo experiments and/or data analysis will be beneficial.