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Lighting a path to understanding the brain's 'language'

Yale professor Michael Nitabach and colleagues are using new optical techniques to measure electrical activity of genetically-targeted sets of neurons in a living organism, a prerequisite for understanding the complex internal 'language' of the brain. Video by Patrick Lynch.

Nitabach Lab

The Nitabach lab is focused broadly on the use of genetic, physiological, and behavioral approaches to understanding the information processing principles by which neural circuits control animal behavior. Particular behaviors we are interested in include sleep, circadian rhythms, multisensory integration, and learning.

Most of our work is pursued using as model organisms Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies and Caenorhabditis elegans nematode fruit worms. Specific technical approaches employed include whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology, optical imaging of membrane voltage and intracellular second messengers, cell-specific genetic targeting of biophysical and biochemical effectors, and sophisticated behavioral assays.