Welcome to the Sylwestrak Lab at the University of Oregon
Molecular, Cellular, and Circuit Mechanisms of Motivated Behavior
Department of Biology, Institute of NeuroScience
Sylwestrak Lab....coming to the University of Oregon Spring 2019!
2 November 2018 - Emily is selected for the Allen Institute Next Generation Leaders Council.
14 August 2018 - Sylwestrak Lab receives the Brain, Behavior & Research Foundation's 2018 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant.
26 July 2018 - A great collaboration with Xiao Wang and Will Allen from the Deisseroth Lab is out in this week's issue of Science!
The nervous system must continuously process sensory stimuli, evaluate outcomes, and apply learned rules to future behavior. To accomplish these diverse tasks, neural circuits are specialized at the systems, cellular, and molecular levels. We aim to understand how heterogeneous, molecularly-defined neuronal populations work together to drive behavior. We use cell-type specific activity monitoring and behavioral analysis to tackle this question in the habenula. This thalamic structure shows a rich transcriptional diversity, and has been associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders, but we lack a detailed understanding of how different cell types map onto behavior in healthy and pathological states. We have found that distinct cell types in the habenula encode reward predictions and outcomes during motivated behavior. The habenula has also been linked to addiction and depression, and we are interested in identifying what cell types may contribute to altered reward processing in neuropsychiatric disorders.