What we do

Welcome to  the Castro-Lab website.  We study how neural circuits change their activity and responsiveness as rodents (mostly mice) transition between behavioral states.  These adjustments occur dynamically so that the brain can effectively process information as behavioral contingencies demand. Understanding these mechanisms is a crucial first step to decipher how neural circuits mediate behavior, and how they are altered by neurological and psychiatric disorders.

One of the  behaviors we study is active avoidance, which is  a complex learned behavior that involves both classical and operant conditioning. This video  shows a rat trained in active avoidance. Go to Research to learn more.

 

Research

We investigate these topics 

… using the these methods

  • Electrophysiology
    • whole-cell recordings
    • single-unit recordings
    • field potentials
    • EMG
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Optogenetics
  • DREADDS
  • Fiber photometry
  • Microdialysis
  • Behavioral conditioning
  • Video tracking
  • Histology
    • single cell reconstructions
    • AAV injections and cannula tracing

… in mice that are under these conditions

  • Freely behaving (tethered)
  • Head-fixed
  • Anesthetized
  • Brain slices (in vitro)

Rigor is an important consideration in our work. Our experiments and analyses are automated (coded), so there are fewer confounding variables.