I am a systems neuroscientist with a background in biophysics. The goal of my research is to understand how brain circuits mediate decision making to complex sensory input. We study how sensory processing areas of the olfactory and somatosensory systems handle information relevant to decision-making, and how they interact with downstream regions such as piriform cortex and amygdala (1, 2). In addition, we study the circuit basis for behavioral deficits in mild demyelination (3) and neurodevelopmental disorders. To tackle these questions we use an interdisciplinary approach employing awake behaving high density electrical recording, advanced microscopy, closed loop optogenetics and computational neuroscience. My laboratory is involved in developing novel approaches to study circuit function in robust collaborations with physicists and engineers. With Emily Gibson, we hold BRAIN initiative NIH and NSF grants for development of a miniature fiber coupled microscope (4) for recording and holographic optogenetic modification of neural activity and with Doug Shepherd and Wendy Macklin we developed C-DSLM, a novel approach to light sheet microscopy that allowed us to perform brain wide survey of oligodendrocytes(5).
I lead an exciting research environment where students and postdocs are exposed to state of the art approaches to neuroscience research. I have an open door policy in a laboratory where trainees develop independent projects, enjoy their research, obtain independent funding and have synergistic interactions with a diverse multidisciplinary research group. The trainee-initiated project often results in new venues of research that they take to their own laboratory.
1. Baxter BD, Larson ED, Merle L, Feinstein P, Polese AG, Bubak AN, Niemeyer CS, Hassell J, Shepherd D, Ramakrishnan VR, Nagel MA, Restrepo D. Transcriptional profiling reveals potential involvement of microvillous TRPM5-expressing cells in viral infection of the olfactory epithelium. BMC Genomics. 2021;22(1):224. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-07528-y.
2. Fontaine AK, Futia GL, Rajendran PS, Littich S, Mizoguchi N, Shivkumar K, Ardell JL, Restrepo D, Caldwell JH, Gibson EA, Weir RF. Optical vagus nerve modulation of heart and respiration via heart-injected retrograde AAV. Sci. Rep. 2021; 11, 3664. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83280-3
3. George NM, Gentile Polese A, Merle L, Macklin WB, Restrepo D. Excitable axonal domains adapt to sensory deprivation in the olfactory system. J Neurosci. 2022 Jan 6:JN-RM-0305-21. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0305-21.2021. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35022219.
4. Losacco J, George NM, Hiratani N, Restrepo D. The Olfactory Bulb Facilitates Use of Category Bounds for Classification of Odorants in Different Intensity Groups. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 2020;14:430. PMID: 33362477 PMCID: PMC7759615
5. Losacco J, Ramirez-Gordillo D, Gilmer J, Restrepo D. Learning improves decoding of odor identity with phase-referenced oscillations in the olfactory bulb. Elife. 2020;9:e52583. Epub 2020/01/29. doi: 10.7554/eLife.52583. PubMed PMID: 31990271; PMCID: PMC6986879. Featured in an Editorial Summary by Dr. Laura Colgin.
6. Ma M, Futia GL, de Souza FMS, Ozbay BN, Llano I, Gibson EA, Restrepo D. Molecular layer interneurons in the cerebellum encode for valence in associative learning. Nature Communications. 2020;11(1):4217. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18034-2. PMID: 32868778 PMCID: PMC7459332. This manuscript was featured in Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/202009/how-the-cerebellum-optimizes-split-second-decision-making. The manuscript was featured in the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage of recent research called “From brain to behaviour”.
7. Nunez-Parra, A., Cea-Del Rio, C.A., Huntsman, M.M., and Restrepo, D. The Basal Forebrain Modulates Neuronal Response in an Active Olfactory Discrimination Task. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 2020; 14, 141. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2020.00141. PMID: 32581716 PMCID: PMC7289987.
8. Svalina, M.N., Guthman, E.M., Cea-Del Rio, C.A., Kushner, J.K., Baca, S.M., Restrepo, D., Huntsman, M.M. Hyperexcitability and Loss of Feedforward Inhibition Contribute to Aberrant Plasticity in the Fmr1KO Amygdala. eNeuro. 2021;8(3):ENEURO.0113-21.2021. Published 2021 May 11. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0113-21.2021