BMI Associate Member
Physiology & Pharmacology
(519) 931-5777 x24373
The goal of my research is to understand the effects of stress on the functioning of the brain, and consequently behaviour. My lab uses a multidisciplinary approach including patch clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics, biochemical & histological analysis, and behavioral & physiological manipulations in order to understand molecular mechanisms of stress.
Stress causes an immediate physiological and psychological response and promotes associative learning that makes a lasting changes in future behavior; however, the accumulations of memories of stressful episodes can cause many negative consequences. I focus my work on the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that regulates hormonal response to stress. Stress-induced changes in this area may represent a key neurobiological mechanism for the abnormality of stress hormone levels and the changes in behaviour, seen in many serious diseases. Thus, I aim to understand the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms through which stressful experiences influence neural and synaptic plasticity in specific stress-related brain circuits, examine how different modalities, intensities and durations of stress cause different types of neural plasticity, and investigate causal relationships between stress-associative neural plasticity and the changes in physiological functions and behavior.