Beeler Lab

Behavioral and physiological investigations of dopamine

Mouse genetics

We mostly use mouse genetic models, including knockouts, knockdowns and tissue specific deletions. More recently, we have begun using newly available mouse genetic tools, such as early immediate gene (IEG) systems to drive selective expression of cre—and cre-dependent gene expression– in active neurons during a behavioral epoch. We also use pharmacological models as appropriate.

Understanding behavior

We use a range of behavioral methods from simple paradigms, such as open field and accelerating rotarod, to more sophisticated testing, including homecage operant paradigms. We utilize genetic and pharmacological manipulations and use computational approaches, often in collaboration with theoretical/computational neuroscientists, to model more complex datasets generated by homecage paradigms.

Neural mechanisms

We use patch-clamp electrophysiology to study synaptic transmission and plasticity in the striatum, particularly the regulation of corticostriatal synaptic plasticity. To assess dopamine release, we use fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV). We can test evoked dopamine release in anesthetized animal and are implementing awake-behaving, recording using a chronically implanted carbon fiber electrode. To manipulate specific circuits and cell populations, we use opto- and pharmaco- genetics (ie., DREADDs).