The goal of our research is to elucidate the cellular mechanisms and circuit principles that allow subcortical (brainstem) descending glutamatergic pathways to control motor and autonomic behaviors.

Research questions are addressed using a multidisciplinary approach that includes optical imaging, electrophysiology, anatomy and laser photostimulation. We use the neonatal mouse as an animal model, which enables us to combine optical and genetic technologies.

Determination of the normal capabilities of the brainstem descending systems should help better understand how functional connections between brainstem neurons and spinal cord neurons can be improved or “re-made” after spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, stroke and neurodevelopmental mental disorders.