I received my B.A (Neuroscience) from Oberlin College in 1998 where I performed honors research on comparative neuroanatomy with Mark Braford, Ph.D. Following college, I worked for four years at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc., in The Woodlands, TX as a research associate doing molecular biology research. I received my Ph.D. (Neuroscience) in 2008 from Vanderbilt University under the mentorship of Ariel Y. Deutch, Ph.D. Following graduate school, I took a postdoctoral position at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health in Rockville, MD in the laboratory of David M. Lovinger, Ph.D before joining the faculty at the University of Maryland. I am a member of the Society for Neuroscience, Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, Research Society on Alcoholism, and the International Basal Ganglia Society.
Our research seeks to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying dysplastic changes that occur at central nervous system synapses in disorders of action, including Parkinson’s disease (paucity of action) and alcohol addiction (compulsive drinking). Towards this end, we are currently concentrating on two brain regions: the dorsal striatum and the anterior cingulate cortex/claustrum circuitry. Our overarching goal is to understand the circuit/synapse-specific changes that take place in these brain regions to give rise to action dysfunction and to devise circuit specific strategies for restoring synaptic function and normal behavior.
Ethanol remodeling of striatal inhibitory microcircuits
The dorsal striatum, a forebrain structure critical for habit formation, is disinhibited in animal models of chronic drinking. We find that ethanol directly disinhibits the structure by depressing GABAergic synapses onto medium spiny neurons, the principal neurons of the striatum. We are determining the synaptic mechanisms underlying this observation and are currently testing methods of disrupting this phenomenon during voluntary drinking in mice.
Serotonin-mediated corticostriatal plasticity in L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia
The gold standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease is dopamine replacement therapy, commonly in the form of the dopamine precursor L-DOPA. L-DOPA is efficacious for 5-10 years until unwanted, involuntary, and debilitating movements known as dyskinesias develop. Dyskinesia is thought to arise from dysfunction in striatal serotonergic and glutamatergic systems. We recently discovered that serotonin is capable of inducing a long-term depression of corticostriatal (glutamatergic) transmission. Thus, we hypothesize that aberrant serotonin-mediated corticostriatal plasticity underlies L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia. We are testing this hypothesis using ex vivo brain slice electrophysiology and cyclic voltammetry.
Anterior cingulate cortex control of the claustrum
The anterior cingulate cortex and the claustrum have both been implicated in attention, a critical component of successful action learning. The anterior cingulate projects most heavily to the claustrum, and vice versa. However, the contribution of this circuit to attentional processes during action learning is completely unknown. This project seeks to describe this circuit and its contribution to action learning from synaptic to behavioral levels of analyses.
Lab Techniques and Equipment:
The Mathur lab uses a variety of techniques to assess changes at identified synapse types and their contribution to behavior. Brain slice electrophysiology in combination with optogenetics is heavily employed to determine mechanisms of circuit-specific synaptic plasticity. Classical and modern neuroanatomical techniques are used to define circuits, including viral tract tracing and immunohistochemistry. Behavioral methods are currently being used to assess drinking behavior, motor function and learning. We also exploit in vivo optogenetic and chemogenetic methods to manipulate behavioral output. We use a variety of transgenic and conditional knockout mouse lines to achieve circuit-specific control and/or protein expression/deletion.
We are actively seeking talented postdoctoral fellows. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Novel Human Proteins and Polynucleotides Encoding the Same (U.S. Patent Nos.)
BD263758, BD263758, DD084960 - DD084969, DD089518 - DD089524, DD052611 -DD-52615, DD051856, DD051857, DD041860, DD010732 - DD010734, AY017369, AY017368, AF427492.