Current Research
Neural Circuits for Innate Behaviors and Associated Internal States

David Anderson is interested in the neurobiology of emotion. Anderson and his team investigate how features of internal emotion states, such as persistence, scalability, and valence, are encoded in the brain’s circuitry and chemistry, and how they are elicited by sensory stimuli that drive emotional behaviors such as fear or aggression. Working in mice and Drosophila, the team uses molecular genetic tools to mark, map, and manipulate specific circuits to determine how identifiable neuron populations contribute to these features and to different emotional behaviors. They also use complementary electrophysiology and functional imaging to measure activity in neural circuits controlling such behaviors, and to search for evidence of internal state encoding.

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