I am currently a postdoc in Yun Zhang's lab, studying neuronal circuit physiology and function in the nematode, C. elegans, which has just 302 neurons, all of known identity and connectivity. In particular, I am interested in the organizational logic of circuits involved in monitoring self-motion and controlling sensorimotor behaviors. Using quantitative analysis of correlations between neuronal activity and behavior coupled with pharmacological and molecular genetic approaches, I have identified a circuit that monitors head movement and integrates this information with sensory input. I propose that this allows animals to acquire information about the spatial distribution of stimuli and modulate its locomotion accordingly. This circuit shares similarities at both the logical and molecular level with those implicated in human neurological and psychiatric disorders.
A second project, in collaboration with Linjiao Luo in Aravi Samuel's lab, investigates the circuits that control chemotaxis in response to salt. Finally, with Zhunan Chen, a graduate student int he lab, I have examined the neural correlates of peptide-mediated behavioral plasticity.
I grew up in Omaha, NE, went to Bowdoin College in Maine, and have since lived in San Francisco, Toronto, Singapore, and now Cambridge, MA.