Rory McQuiston, Ph.D.
Anatomy & Neurobiology
Virginia Commonwealth University
We study an area of the brain crucial to the formation of long term memories – the hippocampus. In particular, we are interested in how small groups of inhibitory neurons (interneurons) influence the integration of excitatory activity in the principal neurons responsible for encoding of information. Currently, the lab is studying the impact of cholinergic and GABAergic inputs from the medial septum and diagonal band of Broca complex (MS/DBB) to an output region of the hippocampus, area CA1, using transgenic and knock-in mice. We also study synaptic responses from the entorhinal cortex on to CA1 neurons. Additionally, we study how pathogenic protein tau, involved in neurodegeneration, may be affecting the function of neurons in the hippocampus. These studies involve investigating the efficacy of synaptic transmission, the impact on different subsets of interneurons, and the downstream network effects on principal pyramidal neuron activity. The lab uses both optogenetics and patch clamp physiology to study these network effects.
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Last updated 10/2017