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Research Interests

The work in Dr. Averbeck's group focuses on understanding the role of frontal-striatal circuits, and particularly the role of dopamine in these circuits, on learning and the representation of beliefs. The lab pursues these questions by establishing direct links between microcircuit network dynamics and behaviour. At the level of the microcircuit, the group looks at the effects of dopamine depletion on network dynamics within the basal ganglia (BG). These studies use information theoretic tools to assess the information processing capacity of the BG network in dopamine lesioned and control rats. Moving towards behaviour, the group examines the effects of micro-injections of dopamine antagonists into lateral prefrontal cortex and the caudate nucleus on behaviour and network neural activity, in the behaving monkey. At the behavioural level studies in patients with Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia also examine the impact of pathological dopamine signalling on behaviour. By using a vertically integrated approach the lab defines the behavioural impact of changes in dopamine signalling through patient studies and brain imaging and then focuses on these specific behavioural processes and their associated brain systems with the in-vivo work, which allows the examination and manipulation of the system at a high level of detail.

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This page was last updated September 2013