Huntington’s disease, OCD, Parkinson’s disease

Optogenetic dissection of the striatal subcircuits during action sequence learning
2013 Seed Grant

Xin Jin, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Many neurological and psychiatric disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder are related to the basal ganglia dysfunction. The basal ganglia circuits consist of two major subcircuits, called direct and indirect pathways. Traditionally, it was thought that these two pathways work antagonically to facilitate and inhibit actions respectively, and imbalance of them would lead to basal ganglia dysfunction and action disorders. Dr. Jin’s project aims to study the physiology and function of these two pathways in vivo, and validate the classic basal ganglia functional model within a complex behavior context. The findings from this project will not only reveal the fundamental organization of action in the basal ganglia circuits, but also provide important insights into the pathology of many basal ganglia related action disorders.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…