My research is in learning and memory, synaptic plasticity, and preclinical models of Alzheimer’s disease and post traumatic stress disorder. The lab has been studying the neural basis of learning and memory using a number of model systems including the marine snail, Hermissenda, the rabbit eyelid/nictitating membrane preparation, and human eyelid conditioning. Studies have focused on revealing the behavioral laws and identifying the neural substrates of learning and memory as well as examining the synaptic plasticity that occurs at these substrates. We use classical conditioning as a behavioral paradigm and slice electrophysiology as a way of recording the changes that learning induces in the brain. We are currently using patch clamp recording to identify specific ion channels involved in learning-dependent changes in the cerebellum. We have developed an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease which can produce Alzheimer’s-like pathology using simple dietary manipulations. We also have an animal model of some aspects of post traumatic stress disorder that has yielded insights into possible behavioral treatments for the disorder.
Immunohistochemical staining of Purkinje cells in a rabbit cerebellar cortex