Robert C. Froemke, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine
Institution
New York University
Address
540 First Avenue
Skirball Institute, 5th Floor, Lab 9
City, State, Zip
New York, NY 10016
Phone
(212) 263-4082
E-mail
robert.froemke[at]med.nyu.edu
Website
http://froemkelab.med.nyu.edu/
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
2012

Research

We are social animals. Like most mammals, we engage in social interactions and activities important for our health and happiness, such as communicating, making friends, selecting mates, and raising children. These complex, essential behaviors are related to the function of specific neurochemical systems in the central nervous system- including oxytocin, noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and steroid hormones like testosterone and estrogen- each of which is recruited under different behavioral conditions, arousal levels, and motivational states. These molecules exert powerful effects on neural networks, modulating and modifying synaptic connections between nerve cells to change how social identities, relationships, and the external world are represented in the brain. In the lab, we examine how individual synapses are changed by alterations in the patterns of neural activity, neurochemical signaling, and sensory experience. We combine electrophysiological recording, computational analysis, and behavioral experiments, aiming to discover basic principles and quantitative rules by which neural circuits and synapses of the mammalian cerebral cortex develop and are reorganized throughout life to affect perception and behavior.