We are interested in how neuronal activity regulates behavior. Toward this goal, we study how brain function depends on the properties of individual neurons and the circuits they make with other neurons. Our main focus is on the cerebral cortex, the largest and most complex part of the mammalian brain. The computations that take place in this brain area are essential for normal perception, memory, motor control, and cognition. It is where acquired sensory information about the external world is integrated with past experience (memories) in order to predict and command appropriate behavior. We aim to understand how the basic properties of different types of cortical neurons, the building blocks of the cerebral cortex, and their connections contribute to behavior. We study the diversity of cortical neurons and the connectivity among different cell types, as well as the ion channels and other intrinsic factors that control their excitability, the dynamic properties of their synapses and how these properties are regulated by neuromodulators. We then manipulate neuronal properties and cortical circuits and study how these manipulations affect function. We are currently emphasizing two areas of research: i) characterization of the circuits by which distinct GABAergic interneurons shape cortical information processing and ii) the mechanisms by which acetylcholine, a neuromodulator with key roles in the control of cognitive function, modulates cortical function. To address these questions, we use a multidisciplinary approach that combines molecular, genetic, and anatomical techniques with electrophysiological, imaging, and optogenetic methods in vitro and in vivo as well as behavioral methods. We hope to unravel cellular and circuit mechanisms that mediate cortical function and gain insight into how dysfunction of ion channels, cortical neurons, and neuromodulatory systems contributes to neurological and psychiatric disease.
Valentino D.B. Mazzia, MD, JD Professor of Anesthesiology, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative Care, and Pain Medicine
Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology
Vice Chair of Research, Anesthesiology, Perioperative Care and Pain Medicine
PhD from Cambridge University
MD from National Autonomous University of Mexico
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"A viral strategy for targeting and manipulating interneurons across vertebrate species": Corrigendum
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