Welcome to the Gittis lab at Carnegie Mellon University
Our lab studies the neural circuitry of the basal ganglia, a brain system involved in movement, learning, motivation, and reward. Dysfunction of neural circuits in the basal ganglia is thought to play a role in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome, and dystonia, as well as many neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety, OCD, and addiction. A critical step in understanding the neural basis of these diseases, is to elucidate the cellular and synaptic organization of neural circuits within the basal ganglia and their plasticity in disease states.
Our main objective is to understand how distinct cell types in the basal ganglia wire up and communicate to regulate behavior in health and disease. We utilize genetic and molecular tools to target and manipulate distinct neural circuits in acute slices and awake behaving animals. Experimental approaches include electrophysiology, optogenetics, histology, and behavior.