Distinct Neuronal Ensembles Encode Sensory Stimulus Context in the Neocortex
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The Hamm lab conducts basic research on cortical microcircuitry with paradigms and approaches designed to provide deeper insight into neuropsychiatric disease. Sensory processing abnormalities in schizophrenia (SZ) undermine how affected individuals perceive and relate to a changing environment. These aberrations reflect fundamental neural pathophysiology in SZ, impacting stable information processing and giving rise to downstream deficits in cognitive and social functioning. Dr. Hamm’s research focuses on the interaction between the cellular, circuit-level, and networks of function in the cortex i) as it relates to sensory processing dysfunction specifically, and ii) as it can provide clues toward a unifying pathophysiology in this very heterogeneous disease. His laboratory will employ techniques such as 2P-Ca++, dense array local field potential recordings (LFP/CSD), and opto/chemicogenetics in awake, behaving mice, utilizing both wild-type mice and mouse models of SZ relevant disease processes. Critically, sensory cortical structure and function is relatively well-conserved across mammals, and is highly accessible with classic psychophysical and neuroscience approaches. The Hamm lab takes advantage of this fact, employing paradigms which can be employed with human patients in clinical settings and rodent models in the lab, whereby established disease “biomarkers” (e.g. EEG measures) can be linked with specific neurobiology and therapeutics.