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Striving to pursue novel and exciting research questions by integrating developmental and circuit neuroscience approaches for the study of social behaviors

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How are social behaviors established during postnatal development?

Project 1

Social behaviors, including aggression and mating can take place without prior experience. Therefore, there must be developmental events setting up the brain circuits for the correct processing of social information and execution of behavioral actions. We aim to take a multi-level approach to understand the cell subpopulations involved, the circuits necessary and the impact of hormones for the processing of social sensory information and social behaviors during postnatal development.

Early-life stressors, including adversity (ELA), social isolation and environmental toxins are all environmental factors that can play a role in shaping our behaviors during puberty and adulthood and can lead to long-lasting neurological and behavioral consequences. We aim to elucidate how neuronal circuits are disrupted by environmental stressors during infancy, which will allow us to  develop interventions and treatments to prevent associated mental illnesses later in life. 

How are environmental factors 
disrupting the social behavior network?


Project 2

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Our goal is to undertake a brain-wide approach to uncover distinct transcriptionally-defined subpopulations that are functionally relevant for the production of social behaviors and social sensory processing. Multiple regions in the social behavior network and beyond have shown sex-specific differences. Therefore, we will pursue this question by studying both males and females and determining similarities and divergences across sexes.

How are distinct transcriptionally-defined subpopulations orchestrating social behaviors across sexes?

Project 3

Tools for dissecting the circuits for social behaviors


In vivo neuronal activity and neurotransmitter 

recordings at the population and single-cell level  via miniscope imaging and single and multi-fiber photometry in freely-moving mice

Viral tracing tools to uncover anatomical and functional circuit connectivity


Cellular and circuit manipulations through chemogetic and optogenetic strategies

during social behaviors


Measuring rodent behavior through social behavioral assays and during environmental manipulations. Tracking mouse behavior in

biased and unbiased fashions

Molecular approaches including immunohistomechistry, RNAscope and sequencing for determining cell identity

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