West LAB

The goals of the West Lab are to:
1) identify the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie learning, decision-making and cognitive flexibility,
2) elucidate how these neural circuits are altered in animal models, and
restore function to these circuits with the aim of improving decision-making in disease states.

To achieve these aims, we utilize state-of-the-art in vivo recording techniques including in vivo electrophysiology and optical imaging (cellular Ca++ imaging) to characterize neural circuits necessary for learning and decision-making in awake behaving rats. We also employ optogenetic, chemogenetic, and pharmacological manipulations to assess causality at the circuit level. Finally, we aim to develop and test potential treatment strategies, such as non-invasive brain stimulation, to restore decision-making deficits in relevant models of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.