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Tommas Ellender

Academic Visitor

My research focuses on understanding the principles that govern the formation of neural circuits during early life and the subsequent processes that can lead to the degeneration in structure and function of these circuits.

Our current focus is on understanding this for the neural circuits found in the basal ganglia and the hippocampus. My group combines electrophysiological recordings of multiple neurons in vitro and in vivo  in combination with optogenetic and pharmacogenetic techniques to both observe and manipulate neural activity and circuit development.

Key research areas:

• Development of the striatal neural circuitry.

• Neuromodulation of striatal circuit development and function.

• Cellular mechanisms underlying the generation of physiological and pathological neural network activity in the striatum and hippocampus.

Current research:
Our ongoing research has outlined the normal developmental trajectory of the D1 and D2 subtypes of striatal spiny projection neurons (SPNs) from birth into adulthood (Krajeski et al. 2019) and we are exploring the contribution of diverse embryonic neural progenitors in controlling striatal cell and circuit diversity (van Heusden et al. 2021).

Our efforts are focused on defining the early developmental processes controlling the formation of the striatum, with the aim of generating rationale and identifying targets for intervention in a range of basal ganglia neurodevelopmental disorders.