Faculty Mentor: Alan Lewis, M.D., Ph.D.
Dissertation Description: Determining the role of mossy cells in social and aggressive behaviors
The Lewis Lab is interested in understanding the neurobiology underlying social and aggressive behaviors. The dentate gyrus, a hippocampal region, has been shown to play a role in the regulation of aggressive behavior in mice. Currently, we are studying a type of glutamatergic neuron in the hilus of the dentate gyrus called mossy cells that might be involved in regulating this behavior. Using DREADDs, we can activate or inhibit mossy cells and see how this affects mouse behavior in the resident-intruder test for aggression, sociability, and social novelty tests. Our research can lead to novel treatments for abnormal aggressive behavior seen in neuropsychiatric disorders including autism and schizophrenia.