Our research is focused on understanding the neurobiological and etiological mechanisms of genetic neurodevelopmental disorders such as Williams syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.
To achieve this, we are interested in the following research topics:
Neurogenetics and neurodevelopmental aspects of psychiatric disorders
One of the long-standing questions in Neurobiology is whether a primary disruption of brain development leads to social abnormalities or whether an improper interaction with the environment leads to undeveloped social-related brain regions. Our studies aim to characterize the postnatal developmental and functional roles of genes in mouse models for psychiatric disorders. We utilize tools to control target expression in a cell-type and time-specific manner.
Myelin and behavior interplay
Dysregulation of the myelin condition can severely affect behavioral and physiological properties. We study the etiological mechanisms responsible for how, why, and at what developmental stage myelin condition can affect behavior in mouse models for psychiatric disorders.
Functional neuroanatomy of the social brain
To properly perform social behavior, an individual need to acquire, process, store and use social input from the environment to decide on and take proper social actions, the sum of which is called social cognition. We dissect neural circuits and brain regions’ roles in social and anxiety-like behavior, by utilizing in vivo optogenetics to manipulate brain regions that affect social behavior in mouse models for psychiatric disorders. Also, we use gene-rescue approaches to restore behavior and physiology in mouse models for psychiatric disorders.
Molecular processes and cell signaling
Current research in the lab focuses on studying neuron-glia interactions and their role in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. We study which central pathways and molecular mechanisms mediate myelin condition and the related behavioral and physiological outcomes. Ultimately, by better understanding of the main components of the myelination process and their abnormal activity in illness, we aim to improve our ability to identify novel valid drug targets to treat psychiatric disorders.
We thrive to validate our novel pathophysiological findings from our basic research findings in clinical environment with human patients, in hope to identify the safe and life-improving drug to treat behavioral and physiological deficits in psychiatric disorders. To achieve this, we conduct pharmacological and pharmacogenetical studies to improve behavioral abnormalities related to psychiatric disorders.