DISORDERS OF NEURAL CIRCUIT FUNCTION
The goal of our research is to understand how recently discovered candidate genes associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia alter the development and function of brain circuits. Our approach combines optogenetic circuit mapping with traditional whole cell patch clamp to determine synaptic connectivity between identified neurons in mouse models of psychiatric disease. Hypotheses regarding the contribution of specific neuron subtypes or inter-areal connections to circuit pathology are also tested by optogenetic and chemogenetic perturbations followed by in vivo recording and behavioral testing. By identifying common circuitry endophenotypes across multiple models with diverse candidate gene ontologies, we hope to identify points of intervention to correct the circuit imbalances in these disorders.