Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology
B.S., University of Toronto Scarborough
Ph.D., University of Toronto
Our research focuses on synaptic plasticity and neuromodulation within defined neural circuits in the ventral basal ganglia, a collection of brain structures involved in reward learning and selection of flexible behavior. Specifically, we ask how chronic pain, addictive drugs, or genetic mutations alter the function of these neural circuits, and how circuit dysfunction contributes to symptoms of chronic pain, substance use, and mood disorders. Our ultimate goal is to leverage insight from circuit studies to develop novel neuromodulation for these disorders, including deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound. By first determining how neuronal and circuit adaptations drive specific behavioral symptoms of disease, we can establish a strategy for targeted circuit manipulation in a disease state. We then rationally design neuromodulation paradigms and validate them in model systems to provide novel strategies to treat symptoms at the interface of chronic pain, mood, and substance use disorders.