Neural circuits of modulation

The Pollak Dorocic lab studies the diversity of neuromodulatory neurons and circuits in the brain. We use a combination of molecular and system neuroscience tools to visualize, record and manipulate neural populations in order to understand their function and contribution to behavior.

Serotonin and dopamine are two of the main neuromodulators in the brain. The function of these neurons underlies healthy behavior, including motivation, exploration and social behaviors, while imbalances in these circuits are linked to neuropsychiatric illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

By using genetic and molecular profiling, neuroanatomy and connectivity mapping, in vivo imaging of neural activity, and optical neuromanipulation techniques, our aim is to untangle very specific components of neural circuits, and study their contribution to both healthy brain function and disease.