Our laboratory investigates behavioral, emotional, neuronal and molecular processes involved in social behavior and memory. Our aim is to understand information processing in the neuronal networks that are involved in social behavior and to reveal the way by which this information is stored as memories. We combine behavioral, biochemical, molecular, electrophysiological and imaging methods to monitor neuronal activity that take place in brain circuits during social interactions. Specifically, we focus on interactions between the amygdala and the hypothalamus, which are known to involve multiple neuropeptides, such as oxytocin, arginine-vasopressin and urocortin3.
The role of these neuropeptides in mammalian social behavior in one of the topics we focus our research on.
In addition, we explore brain mechanisms, which are involved in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the prevalence of which has sharply increased over the past decades. We are using various animal models of syndromic ASD to reveal modified brain activity leading to impairments in social behavior, such as those found in individuals diagnosed with ASD.