The list below is not exhaustive. Please contact individual NGP faculty with questions about rotations.
The Carney lab focuses on Auditory Neuroscience, including the encoding and processing of complex sounds in the central nervous system. We use physiological, behavioral, and computational techniques, and study listeners with and without sensorineural hearing loss.
For more information please contact the Carney Lab.
Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Dr. Charles Duffy
We study interactions between cortical information processing and the neural mechanisms linking that processing to behavior. Our focus is on extrastriate visual cortical processing of optic flow, the patterned visual motion that accompanies observer self-movement and supports navigation. We couple single neuron recordings in monkeys with evoked potentials recordings in humans to understand how processing is disrupted in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Our current work is on neural processing for steering and the effects of late-life neurodegenerative diseases.
For more information please contact the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab.
A current focus in the laboratory are how multi-sensory stimuli (visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive) are used to determine orientation and heading in humans. The laboratory uses a hexapod motion platform and psychophysics techniques to examine these issues in controls and those with relevant pathology.
For more information please contact the Crane Lab.
Neural Basis of Depth Perception
A rotation is available to work on a project related to the cortical mechanisms of 3D vision (depth perception). This may involve understanding how single neurons and populations of neurons represent 3D surface structure from binocular disparity, how neurons combine visual and extra-retinal signals to compute depth from motion parallax, as well as how disparity and motion parallax cues are integrated in the brain.
Relevant methods/skills: animal psychophysics (behavioral training), single and multi-neuron electrophysiological recording, computational modelling, computer programming.
For more information please contact the DeAngelis Lab.
Our research is focused on how the many types of neurons in the central nervous system are generated during embryonic development. We are particularly interested in the roles of transcription factors in specifying neuronal cell types. By using a variety of mouse genetic approaches (transgenic and knockout) as well as histology, physiology, and molecular and cell biology methods, we study how altered expression of transcription factors affects the generation and function the CNS neurons.
For more information please contact the Gan Lab.
The Center for Translational Neuromedicine is comprised of two divisions, which are respectively led by Drs. Steve Goldman and Maiken Nedergaard. The Goldman lab comprises the Division of Cell & Gene Therapy, whose affiliation is with Rochester’s Department of Neurology. The lab investigates the cellular and molecular bases for stem and progenitor cell-based repair of the central nervous system, with a focus on progenitor cell-based treatments of both the neurodegenerative and myelin diseases. We are also engaged in studies of the biology of primary brain tumors, given our observations of progenitor dysregulation in gliomagenesis. In addition, we are investigating the genesis, modeling and potential treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases, given the high incidence of glial pathology and likely progenitor cell contributions to these disorders.
The principal projects in the lab, and the faculty assigned to each:
- Biology of adult neurogenesis: Endogenous progenitors for the treatment of Huntington’s disease; Abdellatif Benraiss, Assistant Professor
- Biology of adult neurogenesis: Avian modeling and molecular regulation of neuronal recruitment; Robert Agate, Assistant Professor
- Biology of gliogenesis: Differential transcriptional and pathway regulation of glial progenitor cells of the fetal and adult human CNS, during de- and remyelination; Su Wang, Associate Professor
- Phenotype-specified instruction of human iPSC and ES cell-derived neural progenitors for transplantation and disease modeling; Su Wang, Associate Professor
- Biology of gliomagenesis: Tumor stem cells of the CNS, and their genesis from glial progenitors; Romane Auvergne, Assistant Professor
- Glial progenitor-based therapy in myelin disease: pediatric leukodystrophies and multiple sclerosis; Martha Windrem, Assistant Professor; Joana Osorio, Senior Instructor
- Use of human glial chimeric mice to study human glial-specific disease, with focus on human gliotrophic viruses; Yoichi Kondo, Assistant Professor
- Use of human glial chimeric mice to study disease-specific contributions of human glia to both neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders, using patient-specific hiPSCs; Martha Windrem, Assistant Professor; Su Wang, Associate Professor
For more information please contact the Goldman lab.
The goal of the Haber lab is to understand the prefrontal-basal ganglia circuits associated with reward and decision-making in and changes associated with disease. A rotation project would include charting pathways from a prefrontal area, developing a 3-D model of those connections and testing how well diffusion imaging tractography replicates them.
For more information please contact the Haber Lab.
We use single unit physiology and computational modelling to understand how activity from single neurons in prefrontal cortex leads to efficient reward-based decisions. Specific projects will relate to risky choices, self-control, curiosity-driven choices, or foraging decisions.
For more information please contact the Hayden Lab.
Many sensory systems are endowed with efferent feedback mechanisms that can modulate their primary input to the brain. That is, incoming information from a peripheral detector is delivered to a way station within the CNS which then modifies the output from that same detector. Everyday examples include the pupillary reflex to bright light entering the eyes, the contraction of middle ear muscles to loud sounds, or the recruitment of additional muscle fibers when first lifting a heavy object. Here, the function of the efferent loop is presumably to optimize or tune each sensory modality to its stimulus. Sensory information regarding the position and movement of the head are encoded by the vestibular system, which begins as a number of small detectors located within the inner ear.
Taking a reductionistic approach, my lab is addressing the function of the vestibular efferent system from three vantage points:
- Identifying the receptor mechanisms by which different efferent responses are generated during activation of their pathways
- Characterizing how these efferent receptor mechanisms modulate afferent response properties by pairing afferent recordings during vestibular stimulation with activation of efferent pathways
- Identification of efferent discharge patterns with direct, in vivo recordings from vestibular efferent neurons.
For more information please contact the Holt Lab.
The ability to image individual cells at the back the living eye can provide important structural and functional information about the visual processes in healthy and diseased eyes. Our research focuses on developing cutting edge techniques to non-invasively interrogate retinal cells. We are employing non-linear fluorescence imaging to see the regeneration of photopigment in retinal photoreceptors, to image otherwise transparent ganglion cells, and to understand the metabolic response of the retina to visual stimuli. These studies are currently underway in animal models and in the future, will be extended to animal models of disease and to humans. In addition, we are studying ex vivo models to better understand our in vivo imaging results. Students will have the opportunity to participate in these adaptive optics retinal imaging experiments from start to finish.
For more information please contact the Hunter Lab.
The overall goal of this project is to determine the impact of infection with a human-specific virus, human herpes simplex virus 6 (HHV6), on the repair function of human oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (hOPCs) in the context of demyelination and myelin repair. The student will be involved in the in vitro and in vivo analyses of human latent infected glial progenitor cells in respect to cell division, differentiation and migration in vitro. To examine the impact of latent HHV6 infection on myelination and cell migration in vivo, infected cells will be transplanted into a demyelinating mouse model and the capacity of infected cells to participate in oligodendrocyte generation and myelination will be studied.. The project involves cell culture techniques, Immunofluorescent cell labeling, in vitro migration assays, stereotactic tranplanation of cells into animals, generation and characterization of of tissue section using confocal microscopy.
Our studies on the genetic disease Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT) demonstrated that mutation of the ATM gene in cerebellar astrogliarenders astrocytes defective in their ability to protect neurons from cell death. The defect seems to be in a downregulation of xCT, the major cysteine antiporter in astrocytes. The project is focused on analyzing the link between loss of ATM function and downregulation of xCT. Our preliminary data suggest a possible pathway that is inappropriately activated. The student will generate an antisense probes to a number of candidates we have identified, which will then be transfected into mutant ATM astrocytes and the impact of pathway inhibition will be analyzed. The project involves primary cell culture techniques, construction of antisense probes and expression of constructs in cells. The student will also perform western blot and redox analyses to examine the function of manipulated astrocytes.
The project is conducted in collaboration with the Noble lab and is focused on analysis of the role of redox biology in lymphomas that arise in AT animals with a 100% penetrance. The student will be involved in analysis of a new cancer model for AT lymphomas, drug screening experiments to identify novel therapeutic approaches, and analysis of novel therapeutic approaches in other cancers. The project involves cell cultures analyses, automated adherent cell microscopy and tumor cell analysis in vivo.
For more information please contact the Mayer-Pröschel Lab.
The project will involve in vivo high resolution imaging of monkey or mouse retina. The particular project can be discussed with the student and could involve such issues as; in vivo measures of the response of identified retinal ganglion cells, restoring visual responses to blinded ganglion cells with channelrhodopsin, etc.
For more information please contact the Merigan Lab.
A rotation project could involve imaging of astrocytic calcium signaling in awake behaving mice to establish how astrocytes modulate the activity of glutamatergic synapses. Another project would be to validation of our transcriptome of human astrocytes using immunohistochemistry and molecular tools to manipulate gene expression in cultured human astrocytes. However, the lab are engaged in other lines of work mapping various aspects of astrocytic functions in health and disease.
For more information please contact the Nedergaard Lab.
In general, our work follows the path of making novel discoveries, deriving the general principles that follow from these discoveries, and then applying this work to the understanding and treatment of challenging neurological diseases. The current major projects in the laboratory, for which rotations are available, are focused on cancer and on diseases of lysosomal dysfunction.
Our cancer work is focused on the development of new therapies that are more effective, cause less damage to the central nervous system (and are generally selective for cancer cells over normal cells) and that are suitable for rapid clinical transition. Glioblastoma and breast cancer have been our starting models, but we also are applying the principles discovered in this work to multiple other cancers. After pioneering the study of the biological foundations for the adverse effects of systemic chemotherapy on the CNS, we now are starting to publish our studies on protective strategies, and with our work on therapies moving along at a rapid clip.
In both areas, students who join the laboratory learn cellular and molecular biology, stem cell biology, the integration of metabolic regulation with cell signaling, drug discovery and both in vitro and in vivo analyses.
For more information please contact the Noble Lab.
Multisensory Interaction and Adaptive Plasticity in Spatial Localization and Orientation
The sensori-neural processes underlying our abilities to localize, track, and interact with a cluttered environment are crucial attributes of daily life, and are among the most fundamental tasks of the nervous system. The integration of multiple sensory inputs are required to guide spatial behaviors, ranging from mundane tasks such as reaching for objects, and complex ones such as navigating to and from the cafeteria for lunch. The goal of our research is to understand how the brain integrates sensory inputs from the outside world (location and motion of visual and auditory targets) with those of the internal senses (vestibular and somatosensory depictions of orientation and motion of the body and its parts,) to achieve meaningful spatial perceptions and behaviors (eye, head and postural movement).
An equally important interest is how plastic neural mechanisms register errors and adaptively adjust performance in order to maintain proper spatial calibration across sensory modalities. Finally, an important translational concern is how the neural degeneration of natural aging affects spatial behavior and plasticity. Our research environment is unique in structure and instrumentation, as well as broad and translational in character. We benefit from a collegiate and multi-disciplinary group of faculty working on problems of common interest.
For more information please contact the Paige Lab.
Cortical Circuitry Underlying Memory-Guided Sensory Decisions
Our research program is aimed at examining cortical circuitry underlying successful execution of sensory comparison tasks involving visual motion. We record the activity of MT neurons specialized in motion processing and of neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), an area strongly associated with executive function, sensory working memory and attention. We are particularly interested in the still poorly understood influences of the DLPFC on sensory cortex. We record spiking activity and local field potentials while monkeys compare various features of two sequential stimuli presented within and between different portions of the visual field. Current projects include the study of motion representation in the DLPFC across space aimed at determining the local nature of signals arriving from MTs in both hemispheres. Another project is focused on the comparison of neural representation of motion and its location during memory guided discrimination tasks. We also study the behavior of neurons in area MT and their interactions with neurons in the DLPFC during the same behavioral tasks. To determine the influence of the DLPFC on activity of MT neurons during motion comparison tasks and its contribution to these tasks we use selective reversible inactivation of regions in the PFC active during such tasks. These studies have important implications for elucidating the basis of cognitive dysfunction in mental disorders, long associated with deficits in sensory working memory and impaired prefrontal function.
Students rotating in the lab will have an opportunity to become familiar with procedures involved in neurophysiological recordings from behaving monkeys, including behavioral training techniques, single-cell recordings, analysis of neuronal activity, approaches to the study of behavioral effects of reversible inactivation of identified cortical regions. They will work closely with other lab members and participate in the weekly Journal Club.
For more information please contac the Pasternak Lab.
Research interests in the Portman lab center around understanding sex differences in the nervous system: how does sex regulate neural gene expression, circuit structure and function, and behavior? Because these mechanisms are likely to be conserved across the animal kingdom, we are exploring these questions using the relatively simple and highly tractable model system C. elegans. Several rotation projects are currently available and can be specifically tailored to the interests and goals of individual students. Rotation projects could involve molecular biology and gene expression analysis, the study of behavior in wild-type and mutant animals, or the use of fluorescent synaptic markers to examine sex differences in neural connectivity.
For more information please contact the Portman Lab.
Our lab utilizes a wide variety of techniques to manipulate neural cell populations in vitro, and to measure the effect of cell therapeutic interventions in animal models of CNS disease. Besides the commonplace molecular methods (QPCR, Western blot, cloning, lentiviral gene delivery, etc), we have specialized protocols for the isolation and culture of different neural cell populations, including fetal and post-natal neurons, glial precursors, neural stem cells and inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and hESCs. Chemically defined culture conditions are used to grow cells, and induce the directed differentiation of precursors. These in vitro methods allowing us to study the behavior and functions of these cells in culture, and to generate specific cell populations for transplantation into the injured CNS. For this purpose we use several different injury models, in particular rodent models of spinal cord injury, and Parkinsonian neurodegeneration. Functional readouts include common tests of motor skills (Footplacement, forepaw usage, gaitscan, grip strength, pellet reaching), as well as sensory assays (Hargraves, von Frey) and electrophysiological measures (EEG, MEP, SSEP). Post-mortem analysis uses immunhistology and stereological analysis of tissue sections. Because of the large number of techniques, students and post-docs are strongly encouraged to collaborate. However, to ensure a firm grasp of experimental design, and a sound foundation in methodological experience, PhD students are expected to master all the methodologies required to address their specific project needs, ranging from cloning to in vivo work. Projects available to rotation students can include any of these methods, typically however do not involve surgical procedures. All rotation students will be expected to give a brief presentation at the start and end of their rotation. The first presentation is intended to introduce them and their project to the lab. This ensures students have understood the theoretical background of their project and that they can quickly integrate into the lab. The second presentation will take place at the end of the rotation and will include data presentation and discussion.
For more information please visit the Pröschel lab.
Studies in my laboratory are aimed at understanding how neurons in the prefrontal cortex combine auditory and visual information such as facial gestures and vocal sounds during communication. We use electrophysiology, anatomical, and behavioral methods to understand the organization and functions of the primate prefrontal cortex.
For more information please contact the Romanski Lab.
We study control of arm and hand movements from the motor and premotor cortex by recording neural activity through implanted microelectrode arrays simultaneously with electromyographic activity and kinematics.
For more information please contact the Schieber Lab.
The laboratory of Dr. Nina F. Schor is focused on the preclinical pharmacology of targeted therapies for neuroblastoma, a deadly childhood cancer. Of particular interest is the role of neurotrophin receptors and their interactors in resistance to chemotherapy of neuroblastoma cells and in redox regulation in the normal and neoplastic neural crest.
For more information please contact the Schor Lab.
Students rotating in the White lab will investigate candidate mechanisms in age-related hearing loss. They will use quantitative PCR, western blotting and immunofluorescence on sections to detect proteins involved in the oxidative stress response in the mouse cochlea.
For more information please contact the White Lab.
For more information and details on how to apply please visit the Office for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs.