Education: MSc and PhD in Cellular Biology and Neurochemistry
Role in MouseTRAP: I integrate cutting-edge neurotechniques suitable to record and manipulate neuronal/non-neuronal circuits in rodents while performing automated touchscreen tasks. As such, I provide high-level technical advice to researchers across Western University and beyond in the use of techniques such optogenetics, fibre photometry, microdialysis, micro-infusions, and the use of modern AAV-based genetic approaches.
Description of Research Projects:
My research interests are focused on understanding how cognition and motivation influence one another. Classically, both behavioural domains have been considered as fundamentally different. However, an important but poorly addressed postulation in psychology and psychiatry is that both behavioural constructs are interdependent and implemented by functional network integration across several brain regions (Pessoa 2008). Hence, the long-term goals of my research are to implement relevant theoretical and experimental strategies aimed at providing insights into how different local and large-scale circuitry mechanisms interact to regulate both cognition and motivation. Consequently, my research interests aim at understanding 1) how the brain integrates cognitive and motivational information from a dynamic network perspective to regulate behaviour, 2) how these dynamic networks are altered in brain disease states, and 3) why simultaneous cognitive and motivational disruption is more prevalent in some brain disorders than others. To address these questions, I combine advanced rodent behaviour including touchscreens with cutting-edge methodological approaches such as in vivo imaging, optogenetics, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy and biochemistry. Importantly, my broad expertise in these experimental approaches as well as my ongoing interactions with research groups at the University of Western Ontario (Canada), Seoul National University (Korea), Duke Kunshan University (China), and the National Institutes o Health (USA) have prepared me for leadership in this area. I seek to establish my own laboratory in the near future that will allow me to nurture a complementary and collaborative atmosphere among established investigators across the globe.