Allen Neurocircuitry & Cognition Lab | FIU
The overarching goal of the lab is to understand the contributions of circuits connecting the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex to memory and memory-based action selection. Importantly, the connections between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex are known to be abnormal in several mental health disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and ADHD), yet the exact nature and range of connectivity irregularities remains unclear. Our goal is to understand the cellular and circuit mechanisms of cognition and behavior within the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex system and advance knowledge critical to translational goals in mental health issues.
The primary experimental approach in the lab is to record neural activity in freely-behaving rats and pigs using high-density drivable arrays of tetrodes and silicon probes while simultaneously using cutting-edge genetic and pharmacological tools to manipulate specific circuits as animals perform complex behavioral tasks. Additionally, functional neuroimaging and tractography is used in human populations. These cross-species translational research pipelines extend our findings from animal experiments to human populations, and facilitate discovery.
The lab has several collaborations with colleagues at FIU most notably in the Brain, Behavior and the Environment Program, the Cognitive Neuroscience Program, the Center for Children and Families, and the Department of Psychology.