The research in the laboratory is directed at issues of thalamic functional organization and thalamocortical relationships, mainly using the visual and somatosensory pathways in the mouse as experimental models. We use a broad interdisciplinary approach, attempting to answer the same or closely related questions with several different techniques. More specifically, we use neuroanatomical techniques to explore various circuits; we use in vitro recordings from brain slices to study cell and synaptic properties; and we record from in vivo preparations to evaluate these circuits in whole animals using an awake, behaving preparation to determine the relationship between behavioral and cognitive parameters and thalamocortical functioning.
Stimulation techniques in slices include electrical activation and laser photostimulation involving both uncaging of glutamate (or GABA) and optogenetics; recording involves mainly patching of single neurons and imaging via flavoprotein autofluorescence. For in vivo recording, we use conventional single cell electrophysiology, current source density analysis, and have recently imported the technique of 2-photon calcium imaging, which enables us to follow responses of hundreds of cortical cells simultaneously. To activate or inhibit specific pathways we use optogenetics and DREAD (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) techniques often involving specific mouse genetic lines (e.g., involving Cre expression in transgenic mouse lines)