We value collaboration between faculty and students towards impactful research. Below are our principal investigators, representing a range of departments in the university.
Ada Eban-Rothschild, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Our lab studies the neuronal underpinnings of sleep and wake states, using a combination of molecular, cellular and behavioral approaches, including in vivo calcium imaging, optogenetics, chemogenetics and EEG/EMG recordings.
Omar Ahmed, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology, Department of Biomedical Engineering
The Ahmed lab uses human and rodent electrophysiology, two-photon imaging and computational modeling to study the neural circuits underlying sensory perception and spatial navigation, with a focus on how these circuits can be repaired in epilepsy, addiction and traumatic brain injury.
Pierre Apostolides, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Kresge Hearing Institute, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
We study how small groups of neurons (microcircuits) work together to generate behaviorally relevant brain activity in the central auditory system. We address questions using an integrative approach that combines electrophysiology, 2-photon imaging and behavioral techniques. Our goal is to provide mechanistic and generalizable explanations for how the brain generates our sense of hearing, and to understand how these processes change during hearing disorders.
Sara Jo Aton , Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Our lab studies how sleep promotes plasticity in sensory cortex and long-term memory formation in the hippocampus, using a combination of electrophysiological, pharmaco/optogenetic, and biochemical tools.
Stephanie Bielas, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Human Genetics
Human genetic studies provide insights into the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders, the pathophysiology of which we investigate using genetically engineered mice and human induced pluripotent stem cells.
William Birdsong, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Human Genetics
The Birdsong lab is interested in understanding the molecules and circuits involved in mediating pain perception and addiction. We’re focused on the mechanisms by which opioids modulate synaptic transmission and the results of this activation on circuit function. We utilize brain slice electrophysiology, optogenetics, pharmacology and imaging to dissect these circuits and understand the effect of neuromodulators on communication between different cell types and brain regions, particularly focusing on communication between thalamus, cortex and striatum.
Dawen Cai, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Neuroscience Graduate Program, Biophysics of LS&A
My lab identifies neuronal subtypes, connections in brain circuits that correlate with behavior and studies neural subtype differentiation mechanisms during development at the single cell resolution.
Bo Duan, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Our lab uses a combination of mouse genetics, histochemistry, neuroanatomical tracing, electrophysiology, in vivo imaging and behavior analyses to gain understanding of the development, organization, and function of neural circuits that underlie a variety of somatosensory modalities, such as temperature, touch, pain and itch.
Monica Dus, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Our lab studies the effect of sugar on the brain; our goal is to discover how the nutrient regulation of transcription affects the plasticity of sensory and reward circuits to promote eating and obesity. We also generally interested in questions around genes, environment, and behavior, also known as neuroepigenetics. Techniques in the lab include behavioral assays, in vivo imaging, genomics, and molecular genetics.
Emily Jutkiewicz, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacology
The Jutkiewicz laboratory investigates the behavioral and neurobiological effects of drugs of abuse with a large emphasis on studying traditional and novel opioid ligands. Other interests in the laboratory include delta-opioid receptor pharmacology, the long-term consequences of adolescent drug use, and the role of the gut microbiome in regulating CNS function.
Magdalena Ivanova, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology
Central to our research, is understanding the molecular mechanism of protein aggregation associated with neurodegeneration. The ultimate goal is to develop strategies for reducing and/or preventing abnormal protein accumulations. Examples of ongoing research projects in the Ivanova Lab include investigations of α-synuclein, amyloid-β, UBQLN2, and RAN peptide aggregation. These proteins form pathological inclusions in Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD). We utilize biochemical, cellular, and biophysical methods to study the abnormal aggregation of these proteins, and the toxicity that is associated with them.
Paul Jenkins, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology, Department of Psychiatry
We study the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying complex neuropsychiatric diseases, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, using confocal microscopy, molecular and cell biology, transgenic mouse models, and biochemistry.
Daniel Leventhal, M.D, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Neurology
The Leventhal laboratory studies movement disorders, a group of diseases characterized by abnormal movement patterns despite normal strength and sensation. These include Parkinson Disease, Huntington Disease, dystonia, and tic disorders, among others. To do this, we use electrophysiogical, optical, and behavioral methods in healthy rodents and disease models.
Kenneth Y. Kwan, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Human Genetics, MBNI
Research in the Kwan laboratory is aimed at the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie normal neural circuit assembly in the cerebral cortex and their dysregulation in human neurodevelopmental disorders.
Peng Li, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, U-M School of Dentistry
Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, U-M Medical School
The ultimate goal of our laboratory is to provide a molecular understanding of the neural control of breathing and how it goes awry in breathing disorders, which will lead to novel interventions to treat breathing arrhythmias.
Dinesh Pal, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Department of Anesthesiology, Neuroscience Graduate Program, Center for Consciousness Science
We study neural mechanisms of physiological (sleep, wakefulness) and pharmacological (anesthesia, psychedelic) states of consciousness in rodents. In our studies we employ electroencephalographic recordings, in vivo neurotransmitter quantification, pharmacological interventions, and chemogenetic tools. We also use information-theoretic measures, complexity measures, and spectral analysis of electroencephalographic data to understand the neural changes accompanying different behavioral states.
Jillian Pearring, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Opthalmology and Visual Science
The Pearring lab studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying intracellular transport of signaling proteins to the light-sensing organelle of vertebrate photoreceptor neurons.
Michael T. Roberts, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Kresge Hearing Research Institute, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
The overall aim of the Roberts Lab is to determine how neural circuits in the central auditory system extract and encode speech and other communication sounds. We pursue this aim using in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, genetically engineered mice, viral transfections, and a range of anatomical techniques. Our long term goal is to determine how auditory circuits can be better engaged by auditory prostheses and other interventions to improve hearing for the hearing impaired.
Benjamin H. Singer, MD, PhD - Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
We study the long-term effects of surviving critical illness, such as sepsis or pneumonia, on health. In particular, we are interested in how reprogramming of the immune system leads to persistent brain dysfunction and injury in critical illness survivors.
Joanna Spencer-Segal, M.D, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine, MBNI
Natalie Tronson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology, Biopsychology
Our research aims to understand the intracellular signaling underlying memory formation and maintenance, and how other factors, including stress, inflammation, and sex can modify these processes and thereby strengthen or weaken memory.
Wenjing Wang, Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
Specialized in bioorganic chemistry, protein engineering, cell biology and neuroscience, my research group is aspired to design a large array of new molecular tools and sensors that can be widely applied to address biological questions. We will harness the power of directed evolution to engineer first-in-class optogenetic and chemogenetic tools for mapping and manipulating molecular processes with a temporal control via light or drug, with a focus on GPCR signaling in the brain. These research tools will fill the gap where currently there is a lack of methods to monitor and manipulate GPCR signaling events in a large brain region with a high temporospatial control. Our long-term goal is to greatly expand the toolbox for addressing fundamental biological questions and designing new classes of biologic therapeutic reagents.
YU Wang, Assistant Professor
I am an epileptologist and neuroscientist with expertise in epilepsy and cortical development. The overall goal of my translational research program is to study refractory epilepsies and identify potential novel treatments. Specifically, we utilize in vivo rodent models and human genetics-pathology-electroclinical data to identify mechanisms contributing to malformation of cortical development and seizures.
Carol Elias, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Research in my laboratory is focused on the neural and molecular basis of the metabolic control of the reproductive function.
Parag G Patil, M.D, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Department of Neurosurgery, Neurology, Anesthesiology and Biomedical Engineering
Research in the laboratory spans human intraoperative electrophysiology, image processing, finite-element modeling of electrical fields, clinical trials in neuromodulation and stem-cell therapies, and clinical outcomes research.