A SYSTEMS APPROACH TO GOAL-DIRECTED BEHAVIOUR
The Stephenson-Jones lab aims to understand the mechanisms by which subcortical circuits transform information about the world into purposive action. We focus on the basal ganglia since these nuclei are a key nexus where the cortical representation of the world is processed to give rise to critical aspects of goal-directed behaviour such as motivation, choice, action, and outcome evaluation.
Our experimental approach starts with designing well controlled, quantitative rodent behavioural tasks that can isolate individual components of purposeful behaviour. By combining these tasks with a wide range of technical approaches, including two-photon calcium imaging, fiber photometry, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, and intersectional viral labelling strategies, our lab is providing new insight into the principal types of information that the basal ganglia extract and the circuit mechanisms that lead to these computations.