The organization of animal behavior according to goals is a key determinant of overall fitness and the product of interrelated behavioral processes - attention to relevant environmental cues, outcome-based choice reinforcement and avoidance, as well as invigoration of motor performance. Disruption in any of these processes can produce goal-directed dysfunction, a key behavioral endophenotype observed across neuropsychiatric disorders. My lab is interested in how specific neural circuits support these behavioral processes, in particular the interactions between afferent cortical projections and local striatal circuitry. In addition, we ask how disease-associated molecular disruptions alter these networks, leading to the development of dysregulated reward-based motor control. In this talk, I discuss three ongoing projects: 1. a local striatal inhibitory population that modulates goal-directed learning and local dopamine signaling; 2. divergent functional coding of goal-directed behavior by prefrontal projections targeting distinct striatal compartments, and 3. the contributions of Neurexin1, a synaptic adhesion molecule widely implicated in brain disease, to alterations in value-based decision-making.
Zoom Link: https://mit.zoom.us/j/98728398745