Associate Professor, Neuroscience
School of Medicine & Public Health
- Lab Webpage
- Jones Lab
RESEARCH INTERESTS – Mechanisms of inhibitory synaptic transmission
Information in the brain is encoded in the electrical activity of neurons that communicate with each other using chemical synapses. These synapses can be excitatory or inhibitory. Recent work from many laboratories has revealed that, rather than merely suppressing neuronal firing, inhibitory synapses are intimately involved in shaping the flow and timing of information in neural circuits.
My research attempts to understand the mechanisms by which biophysical events at inhibitory synapses give rise to the computational roles that inhibition plays in neural circuitry. This topic requires study on several levels including the molecular function of GABA-A receptors (i.e., the postsynaptic ion channels), the time course and spread of GABA in the synapse and the connectivity and timing of signals across many excitatory and inhibitory neurons within a circuit.
I use a combination of patch-clamp electrophysiology, rapid solution exchange methods and computer modeling to address these issues in cultured neurons, brain slices and heterologous expression systems. Some of my previous work in this area and my current research directions are outlined below.