Neurons and glia are the engines of the brain. They are visually striking, functionally sophisticated, and diverse. They perform computations that are ultimately responsible for everything we think and do. We want to understand how they work.
We study the function of neurons (and recently glia) in the hippocampus. This structure is a nexus of behaviorally relevant information arriving from many brain areas. These external representations are combined with internal representations of recent experiences—short-term memories—to generate output that is distributed to other brain areas, in order to adaptively guide behavior and form long-term memories. The goal of our lab is to understand how different hippocampal cell types communicate with their synaptic partners within and outside of the hippocampal circuit, altering their activity and connections as a function of experience.
The brain seems to be made up of a bewildering complexity of parts, and the cells within the parts seem to be characterized by an inscrutable complexity of form, extent, and relationships with each other.
Gordon M. Shepherd
The Synaptic Organization of the Brain, 2nd ed., 1979.