• Name: Ben Richardson, Ph.D.
  • Institution: University of Idaho
  • Department: Biological Engineering
  • Phone: 208-885-0977
  • Email: brichardson@uidaho.edu

Summary: The broad goal of our research program is to understand the synaptic and coding properties of neural circuits and how they may be impacted by neuropathological conditions. In particular, we are interested in the mechanisms by which synaptic and neuronal membrane properties contribute to information processing within the cerebellum and other networks. In parallel, we work to understand the sensitivity of these circuits to genetic or environmental perturbations that may lead to neurological disorder (e.g., autism, alcohol use disorder, ataxia). For this work, we use a multifaceted approach, combining in vivo (single neuron) and ex vivo (whole-cell patch-clamp) electrophysiology, pharmacology, optogenetics, rodent behavior, viral track tracing and microscopy in rodent models.

Minimum classes: N/A

Projects: 

  • Identify novel links between cerebellar output neurons and other sensory brain nuclei. This work involves rodent surgery, viral track tracing, and microscopy to determine the anatomy of these novel pathways.
  • Determine how cell type specific knockout of specific genes influences behavioral phenotype and neuronal morphology. This work involves using transgenic rodents to determine how specific genes/proteins in discrete neuronal populations influence basic behaviors and dictate aspects of neuronal morphology.
  • Determine the impact stress has on developing neural circuitry. This work involves establishing a behavioral paradigm in mice to mimic chronic stress experienced by humans. Upon paradigm development, immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy will be used to determine the impact of the stress and resulting elevated corticosterone (stress hormone) on neural development cytoarchitecture.

 

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