Neurophysiology of epilepsy and neurodevelopmental disorders
Cell and circuit mechanisms of epilepsy
The overall goal of my research is to discover the causative cellular and neural circuit changes linking neurological disease mutations with cognitive deficits. Genetic epilepsies give rise to seizures, and often additionally cause wide-ranging and severe cognitive deficits to sensory integration, movement control, learning and memory, sleep, and mood regulation. I use genetic mouse models of epilepsy to define the roles of specific neuron subtypes in information processing by cortical microcircuits. I am specifically interested in the mechanisms by which monogenic disease mutations initially alter the physiological properties of individual cell subtypes, and the subsequent cascading effects on activity, synaptic connectivity and plasticity, and circuit function. I use molecular genetic manipulations with a variety in vitro and in vivo electrophysiological, imaging, and behavioral techniques to study neural activity at the level of single cells, cell subtypes, and circuits.