Dr. Michael Beierlein
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Research in my laboratory aims to understand the basic principles of synaptic communication between neurons of the mammalian central nervous system. Synaptic connections between neurons are not hardwired but constantly change in strength in response to ongoing neural activity and other influences, over time scales ranging from milliseconds to months or years. We are interested in the mechanisms that underlie these different forms of synaptic plasticity, as well as in the functional consequences for information processing in local neuronal networks, in brain areas such as the thalamus, neocortex, and the cerebellum. Our ultimate goal is to understand information processing in neuronal networks that mediate perception, memory formation and higher cognitive functions. Our research is carried out using brain slice preparations of wild type and transgenic mice, using a combination of electrophysiology, pharmacology, calcium imaging, and optogenetics.
A tutorial in my laboratory will offer experience with acquiring and analyzing neuronal and synaptic activity from well-defined neuronal networks, using a combination of electrophysiology, optogenetics, and fluorescence imaging.