Research Goals

The central question behind our group’s work is, how do we learn from, and adapt to, rewarding experiences and their associated cues?

We constantly update our behavioral repertoire by linking information about past, present and future expected reinforcing events through a complex interplay of neuronal activity choreographed on millisecond timescales. A major challenge to understanding reward, learning, and motivation has been the lack of techniques for observing these network-level patterns of activation with high spatial and temporal resolution. To overcome this problem we use custom silicon microprobes to interrogate this fast, cell-to-cell signaling regime in the basal ganglia and limbic system. These microprobes can simultaneously measure firing from hundreds of neurons, and their electrode array geometry is optimized for sampling single units and local field potentials from multiple anatomical regions in parallel.