Our Research

the DOOR lab aims to uncover connectivity patterns in the brains of individuals resilient to stress, to harness these circuits for disease prevention

Using stress-induced animal models such as social defeat stress, our research focuses particularly on investigating what patterns may exist in the brain prior to experiencing a stressor.

The ultimate goal of our research is to help build a foundation for understanding resilience, which we hope will ultimately lead to progress and standardization in disease prevention.

A multidimensional approach

Our methodology incorporates multiple approaches, subjects, and models

Multi-Species

We study lab mice, lab rats, wild mice, monkeys, and (in Columbia University collaborations with The Nurture Science Program and COMBO) humans.

Multi-Circuit

We're not married to any one particular neural circuit-- that allows us to contribute to a comprehensive description of health and resilience.

Multi-Scale

Investigation at multiple levels-- from neurons, to local and whole-brain neuronal circuits, all the way to behavior.

Open Science

We work in partnerships, openly share our data and ideas, and create environments that foster increased data-sharing.

Our projects

Mouse individual variability & stress response

This project examines the individual variability in structural and functional connectivity that mediates divergent stress-responses in genetically homogenous mice. We investigate connectivity differences at multiple levels, from individual neurons, to local and distal microcircuits, to whole brain analyses of stress-induced activation patterns.

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MouseCircuits.org

MouseCircuits.org is an open source sharing platform for rodent chemogenetic and optogenetic circuit investigation. Its goal is to facilitate access to relevant data and to encourage data sharing within the neuroscience community in order to maximize visibility and impact.

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Rat early life stress

We use various early life manipulations such as maternal separation (MS) and limited bedding and nesting (LBN) to model long-term behavioral, physiological, and neurocircuit consequences of early life stress in rat. Using the LBN model, we are currently investigating the effects on adult prosocial behavior.

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Wild rat stress response

Stress biology research primarily uses rodents — and although by objective laboratory measures we have made huge strides, a very small proportion of treatments effective for rodents work for humans. We hypothesize this translational gap to be in part due to a paucity of naturalistic stress models. This project aims to “bring the lab to the field” to study stress-induced pathophysiology using wild rats in the wild, where stress has real life consequences.

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Parent-child dyad

By collaborating with over 200 researchers and clinicians in human longitudinal observational and interventional studies, we seek to generate foundational knowledge on the health and wellbeing of dyads and identify the building blocks of lifespan health. The long-term vision of this work is developmental neuroprevention, with small interventions that nudge neurocircuit development toward resilience over time, and prevent the emergence of psychiatric disease later in life.

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Method Development

Tools for novel experimental ideas that lack current technological solutions, such as:
- pipelines for brain-wide analyses of axonal projections, neuronal activation, and cellular morphology
- telemetry for monitoring location and physiology of wild rats in the wild
- new analytic approaches for quantifying dendritic spine clustering
- high-throughput, high-resolution analysis of dendritic spine morphology
- time-sequenced analysis of inflammatory markers in deciduous teeth

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Prior Projects

Project name

This project examines the individual variability in structural and functional connectivity that mediates divergent stress-responses in genetically homogenous mice. We investigate connectivity differences at multiple levels, from individual neurons, to local and distal microcircuits, to whole brain analyses of stress-induced activation patterns

Project name

This project examines the individual variability in structural and functional connectivity that mediates divergent stress-responses in genetically homogenous mice. We investigate connectivity differences at multiple levels, from individual neurons, to local and distal microcircuits, to whole brain analyses of stress-induced activation patterns

Project name

This project examines the individual variability in structural and functional connectivity that mediates divergent stress-responses in genetically homogenous mice. We investigate connectivity differences at multiple levels, from individual neurons, to local and distal microcircuits, to whole brain analyses of stress-induced activation patterns