We are interested in understanding the neural basis of behavior: in particular, how humans and other animals recognize patterns and form specific memories. We have focused our attention on the detection and recognition of pheromones—compounds which modulate reproductive and aggressive behaviors—by the neurons of the accessory olfactory system.
In pursuit of this goal, we are: 1) Emphasizing and developing techniques that allow us to record from large numbers of neurons simultaneously. We use multielectrode array (MEA) recording to record from many tens of sensory neurons simultaneously. More recently, we have developed a new imaging technique, Objective Coupled Planar Illumination (OCPI) microscopy, that allows rapid imaging of hundreds of neurons in a three-dimensional volume. 2) Using a combination of physiological assays and chemical analysis to elucidate the nature of the chemical cues used for social communication. 3) Studying mouse behaviors. Recently, we discovered that mice sing ultrasonic songs, and we have provided a detailed quantitative description of the properties of these vocalizations. 4) Studying the circuitry that processes sensory information about chemical social cues.