Welcome to the Apicella Lab
Cortical microcircuits process sensory information to drive behavior. Deciphering how populations of neurons encode information, generate perceptions, and execute behavioral decisions requires working at both the cellular and system levels.
The goal of the research performed in this laboratory is to investigate the neural basis of perception. More specifically, we want to understand how cortical microcircuits process sensory information leading to behavioral outcomes. We use optogenetic and pharmacological approaches in our research to turn neurons 'ON' and 'OFF'. In doing so, we can observe and manipulate specific subsets of neurons at multiple levels: in slice preparations in vitro, and in anesthetized or awake, behaving animals in vivo. This approach allows us to quantitatively determine how specific subsets of neurons contribute to sensory processing and behavior.
By complementing our in vivo work with synaptic connectivity and network dynamics analysis in vitro, we achieve a more complete understanding about how neural circuits in our brain support sensation, action, and cognition.