The hypothalamus is an area of the brain that contains neural circuits that are essential for survival. We are specifically interested in one part of the hypothalamus called the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Neurons in the PVN are activated in response to many different types of stress and in turn release neuropeptides both within the brain and into the circulation to control the body’s stress response.
We use electrophysiology, imaging and other techniques to understand how neural circuits within the PVN function. We are specifically interested in determining how these neural circuits process information and adapt across different physiological and behavioral states. Ultimately, these processes and adaptations ensure the brain responds appropriately to stressors placed on the organism.