Biological basis of psychiatric diseases
My research program aims to integrate basic with translational neuroscience approaches to understand neurocognition and behavior through collaborate research. The lab studies brain limbic cortico-striatal circuitry involved in decision-making, inhibitory control, habits, motivation, memory and reinforcement learning, and the impact of sex differences on behavior in both normal and pathophysiological states. We combine sophisticated behavioral analyses in rodents with pharmacologic, optogenetic, viral, molecular/cellular, imaging and computational analyses. Our research also focuses on how neurodevelopmental and plasticity processes relate to decision-making, learning, memory, and motivational processes that contribute to addiction, alcoholism, depression, stress and other psychiatric diseases. We are particularly interested in memory plasticity processes (destabilization and restabilization) that are involved in memory reconsolidation, which allows new information to be integrated into memory and cognition. Such processes may be distinct developmentally and also play a role in delusional-like processes, stress-pathology and addictions. Neurocomputational and machine learning approaches also are employed in our studies to assess, for example, how distinct reinforcement learning mechanisms within separable neurocircuits result in individual differences in normative flexible decision-making processes and that are causally related to addiction and psychosis vulnerability and pathology.
Jane Taylor obtained her BSc in Experimental Psychology/Neuroscience from the University of Sussex, UK and went on to receive her PhD at the University of Cambridge in the UK. She then joined the Department of Psychiatry at Yale as a post-doctoral fellow, then an Associate Research Scientist, then Associate Professor 2008 and becoming a full Professor (Charles B.G. Murphy) in 2008, with secondary appointments in the Psychology and Neuroscience departments. She is a foodie and enjoys cooking for her husband (Doug Frye) and their daughter Kelly (when she is home). Her interest in science was sparked initially by hanging out in the Biophysics lab of her father Edwin Taylor, and, later in psychology/brain after reading the late Sir Colin Blakemore's book "Mechanics of the Mind" which was based on the 1976 Reith Lectures broadcast on BBC Radio.