Susan Dymecki, MD, PhD
The Dymecki lab studies how functional modularity arises within the brain serotonergic neuronal system and dynamically controls diverse processes ranging from respiration and thermal balance to emotional mood state to coping behaviors.
Understanding how this fundamental system develops at the molecular, cellular, and functional levels will help illuminate root causes of many brain disorders, paving the way for more targeted therapeutics and effective approaches to clinical conditions such as sudden infant death, major depression, and post-traumatic stress.
Using novel genetic tools for precision neural cell mapping in the mouse brain coupled with genomic, transcriptional, electrophysiological, and behavioral analyses, we examine the developmental specialization of subtypes of serotonin-producing neurons together with their network architecture, circuitry modulation, and selective roles in behavior. We probe how such neuronal diversity is generated and maintained, exploring the extent to which it is genetically programmed versus shaped by experience. Emerging is a neuronal structure-function map of substantial heterogeneity that suggests new ways to conceptualize and design treatments for serotonin-related disorders.