Laboratory for Sensorimotor Integration
The primary goal of the Pluta lab is to discover novel principles of neural circuit function. Research in our lab elucidates the neural mechanisms underlying sensory perception and sensory-guided behavior. We are fascinated by the dynamic interplay between cortical and midbrain networks during active sensation. Our model system is the rodent sense of touch because mice purposely maneuver their facial whiskers to navigate the environment, capture prey, and socialize. We utilize precision genetic tools to optically manipulate neural activity while recording from populations of neurons across multiple brain regions. By combining these techniques with quantitative behavioral tracking and statistical modeling, our research provides novel insight into the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying sensation and action.
By discovering fundamental properties of the mammalian brain, our research will hopefully enable better diagnosis and treatment of complex and debilitating neurological disorders.