Altered social behavior is a common symptom of several psychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism spectrum disorders, major depressive disorders, and schizophrenia. These conditions are diverse, with different symptoms and underlying risk factors, some of which are shared between conditions.
We are interested in understanding how factors associated with these conditions alter brain regions that regulate social behaviors on the molecular and cellular level. We study this using mouse models and incorporate multiple approaches, including behavioral testing, biochemical experiments, and confocal imaging to identify the molecular mechanisms influencing these behaviors, and how changes in these mechanisms affect brain function and social interactions. Our long-term goal is to identify common biological pathways that can be used as diagnostic tools or treatment strategies.