factors that shape neuronal circuits and behavior
Located in the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, our laboratory is focused on dissecting the mechanism that give rise to neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. To achieve this, we employ a combination of molecular genetics, behavioral, optogenetic and electrophysiological approaches.
Weighing an average of 1.3 kilograms, the human brain is a marvel of nature. Our brain has evolved to provide us with amazing sensory, emotional, memory and cognitive abilities. From an evolutionary perspective, it has even been argued that the most critical changes imposed on the human brain are directly linked to refinements in the “social brain”.
Mammals use several brain regions to fully process and respond to social environment – from the senses, to memory of others, and emotional centers, many regions are needed for the expression of a social behaviors. As a consequence of this complexity, a score of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders impact social behaviors.
Our group started in 2018 with the long-term goal of better understanding the molecular, cellular and circuit level mechanisms that control neuronal circuit function in health and disease, with a specific focus on understanding neurodevelopmental disorders.
Some recently tackled questions include disclosing:
- The role of synaptic regulatory proteins in autism spectrum disorder
- The influence of stress on social and dominance behaviors
- How miRNAs may be used as a tool to combat Alzheimer’s Disease
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Neuronal Circuits & Behavior Laboratory
Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology
Faculty of Medicine
University of Coimbra
Coimbra, 3004-504 – Portugal