Neural basis of behavior
Mechanistic dissection of the circuits and cellular underpinnings of sensation and behavior. Our faculty use cutting edge techniques such as optogenetics and advanced imaging methods to understand how neural circuits process information and mediate complex behaviors. A variety of model organisms and behaviors are utilized, ranging from zebrafish to rodents.
Molecular signaling and development
Molecular dynamics of nervous system development and wiring. The department builds on its historic strength in developmental biology with diverse faculty working to uncover the molecular mechanisms of nervous system wiring and signaling pathways involved in embryogenesis and organ development.
Synapses and circuits
Cellular and molecular mechanisms of synapse formation and function. Synaptic transmission and plasticity are approached from molecules to in vivo circuits to understand information encoding and storage in the brain. Faculty interests include how synapses form in defined neural circuits and how experience shapes these synaptic circuits.
Mechanisms of disease
Understanding the pathogenesis of neurological and genetic disorders. Basic biology informs how diseases arise from molecular and cellular processes gone awry. Our faculty investigates a multitude of disorders that include autism spectrum disorders, retinal diseases, addiction and neurodegeneration.
Genes and epigenetics
Investigating the genetic program that underlies behavior, neural development and embryogenesis.
Our faculty draws on the strengths of the genetics research at Utah to understand the gene program that underlies behavior and development. New approaches to investigate the role of epigenetic modifications in these processes are also studied.