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Research Areas

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.

Faculty: Adam Douglass; Chris Gregg; Jim Heys; Andres Villu Maricq; Fergil Mills; Scott W. Rogers; Matt Wachowiak; Megan Williams; Moriel Zelikowsky

Molecular signaling and development

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.

Faculty: Maureen L. Condic; Jan L. Christian; Michael Deans; Richard I. Dorsky; David Hutcheson; Kathryn B. Moore; Sungjin Park; Alex Shcheglovitov; Monica Vetter; Joseph Yost

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.

Faculty: Jim Heys; Andres Villu Maricq; Fergil Mills; Sungjin Park; Alex Shcheglovitov; Jason Shepherd; Matt Wachowiak; Megan Williams; Moriel Zelikowsky

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.

Faculty: Alejandra BoscoNoel G. CarlsonChris GreggAndres Villu MaricqScott W. RogersAlex ShcheglovitovJason ShepherdDimitri TranknerMegan WilliamsJoseph YostMoriel Zelikowsky

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.

Faculty: Michael DeansRichard I. DorskyChris GreggAlex ShcheglovitovDimitri TranknerMonica Vetter