Guler, Ali D.
Assistant Professor, Biology
- BA, Bowdoin College
- PhD, Biochemistry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Molecular Biology, Neuroscience
Signal Processing by the Central Nervous System
Our research focuses on understanding how the mammalian central nervous system integrates and processes environmental and peripheral signals for proper behavioral responses. Feeding, sleeping or sex require opportune times that combine information gathered by multiple brain regions and are differentially gated. How does the brain weigh myriad stimuli to shape a behavioral output? To determine how such a large neural network functions, it is essential to influence the activity of a subpopulation of neurons and observe both physiological and behavioral responses simultaneously. Using genetic tools that allow precise control of neural activity in combination with in vivo electrophysiology and behavioral assays, we are discovering circuits that regulate homeostatic behaviors. Currently, we are focusing our efforts on understanding the role of genetically-defined populations of neurons within hypothalamus and midbrain during behaviors associated with feeding or thermoregulation in mice.
Since innovating and improving tools to manipulate molecular, biochemical or electrical characteristics of specific cell types is crucial in leading to new discoveries, we are also seeking opportunities to create techniques to alter the biology of a single protein or a network of cells in a predictable manner. To this end, we are generating novel combination of viral and genomic constructs that allow manipulation of both endogenous and exogenous genes in anatomical, genetic and/or temporal space.