Development of limbic system circuitry
How brain circuitry regulating specific behaviors emerges from development remains unknown. Research in our laboratory is directed toward addressing how genetic embryonic neurodevelopmental programs pattern development of circuitry of the limbic system: an interconnected set of brain structures that includes the olfactory system, amygdala, and hypothalamus. Moreover, we are interested in the consequences of when these processes go awry, resulting in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders. To address these questions, using a murine model, we employ a variety of state-of-the-art techniques, such as conditional transgenic and optogenetic approaches. From these studies we hope not only to gain greater insight into the neurotypical developing brain, but address core behavioral deficits in prevalent human neurodevelopmental disorders.