Animals constantly modify their behavior through experience. Flexible behavior is key to our ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment. Our laboratory is interested in studying the activity of neuronal ensembles in behaving animals, and how it might change with experience and learning. The main technique we use is in vivo two-photon calcium imaging. This technique enables the recording of the activity of large neuronal ensembles in intact animals. Combining this with genetically-encoded calcium indicators, we can image the same neuronal populations over days, weeks and months. The use of transgenic mouse lines allows the identification of molecularly-defined neuron types.
We are among the pioneers to use this imaging technique in awake, behaving mice that are head-fixed under two-photon microscopes. We are developing a number of behavioral paradigms for head-fixed mice to address fundamental questions in systems neuroscience; how are sensory representations shaped by brain state and sensory experience? How does the brain learn new motor skills? How does the brain support flexible behavior? We are tackling these questions, combining a variety of techniques including in vivo two-photon imaging, behavioral, genetic, electrophysiological and pharmacogenetic techniques.