Behavioral role of neuronal circuits established during distinct developmental windows

A third project in the laboratory emerged from a serendipitous finding in the lab that different neuronal types generated at distinct developmental stages contribute to specific aspects of behaviors after postnatal development. This new wing in the lab employs exciting methods to manipulate neuronal activity in living animals (chemo- and opto-genetics) combined with methods to target neurons at different developmental stages. Our current focus is on neurons born in the olfactory system at distinct stages of postnatal and adult development and how they contribute to distinct aspects of olfactory detection and learning of aversive and appetitive odors. This project has pushed us toward the broader theme of understanding cellular and molecular basis of innate and adaptive behaviors in mice whose underlying circuitries are developmentally distinct.