Molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms of decision making
Since I was an undergraduate I have been interested in understanding how the human mind functions to drive complex human capacities such as language. However, I learned over the years that I am more able to maintain intellectual motivation to address simpler questions of the neural control of behavior in simpler organisms, such as Drosophila & C. elegans. We have focused on the neural circuits & neuromodulatory networks underlying learned & innate decision making in these genetically & physiologically tractable animals. The insights we have derived have led to hypotheses that can be tested in mammalian model systems & even in human subjects neuroimaging studies.
I received my BA in Biological Basis of Behavior from UPenn in 1988, my PhD in Biological Sciences from Columbia in 1995, my JD from NYU in 1998, and completed post-doctoral training at NYU in 2003, when I started my lab at Yale. I am currently Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, with secondary appointments as Professor of Genetics and Professor of Neuroscience. In my free time, I an avid amateur perfumer.
Dopaminergic mechanism underlying reward-encoding of punishment omission during reversal learning in DrosophilaNature (2021)