Striatal development & plasticity

The striatum is the key integrator of nigral, cortical and thalmic input to the basal ganglia. Believed to work as a 'special advisor' to guide action selection, the striatum helps the brain decide whether something is a good idea, based on previous outcomes. We are interested in how and when the connections that encode this information are formed, changed and maintained.

   We combine immunofluorescence imaging and electrophysiology studies in co-cultured neurons to study fundamental processes. Brain slice physiology, optogenetics and imaging help us understand how these processes regulate connectivity in the intact brain as circuits develop, mature and age.

—  Example shown; a highly processed immunofluorescence confocal image of a striatal medium sized spiny projection neuron (green; GFP fill flasecoloured blue) grown in co-culture with cortical neurons forming excitatory synapses onto the striatal cell (red; VGluT1 presynaptic vesicle stain). Confocal by Naila Kuhlmann