Research Interests: Work in the lab is focused in four intersecting areas. The projects all involve optical spectroscopy, imaging and electrophysiology.
A) Ion channels respond to physiological signals by opening and closing molecular gates that control the flow of ions across the membrane.
B) Synaptic function and plasticity. Activity-dependent and independent mechanisms regulate synaptic size and strength to ensure a balance between excitation and inhibition of inputs and between input and output.
C) We are studying the development of function of neural circuits in zebrafish. The work combines remote control of action potential firing and synaptic signaling combined with imaging of activity with genetically encoded calcium and voltage sensors and electrophysiology.
D) Novel probes for the optical detection and manipulation of neuronal signaling. Fluorescent indicator dyes have revolutionized our understanding of cellular signaling. Chemical indicators have been very powerful, but are limited in scope because they cannot be targeted to specific cell types or locations within a cell. Our solution for this problem has been to make sensors from proteins--the very biological molecules that transduce, transmit and receive cellular signals