Our lab is interested in understanding the dynamics of basal ganglia circuits in the context of associative reward learning and movement. Some ongoing projects and relevant publications are outlined below.

1. Dopaminergic and striatal roles in learning and movement:

We are seeking to better understand how dopaminergic and striatal circuits, and their interactions, mediate the learning, execution, and timing of reward-conditioned movements.

Here we compared the contribution of dopaminergic neurons to associative learning versus online movement generation.

Here we examined how striatal dynamics are shaped by physiological and potentially supra-physiological dopaminergic neuron input.

2. Comparing neural codes for movement and time across the brain:

We are using multi-region neural recordings to identify how the striatum, cortex, and other areas differentially encode movement and elapsed time. This effort involves frequent collaboration with the laboratory of Dean Buonomano.

Here we examined how the quality of neural sequences compares between the striatum and secondary motor cortex, and how these sequences can be used to read out time.

Here we compared the ability to decode elapsed time using population dynamics from the striatum and orbitofrontal cortex.

3. Neural encoding of locomotion in Parkinson's disease models:

We are studying how neural activity during locomotion and gait is altered in mouse models of Parkinson's disease.

Here we examined the effect of dopamine loss on the encoding of locomotion and single-limb gait in striatal D1 and D2 spiny projection neurons.