Mackenzie Lab

We are interested in understanding how the brain regulates behavior in different contexts. The subthalamic nucleus (STN) and dopamine/glutamate transmission from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) control affective, cognitive and motor functions. Their circuities are dysregulated in several severe neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders such as Parkinson, anxiety, compulsion and addiction. Better treatment relies on improved knowledge of underlying neurocircuitry, both their anatomical composition and their physiological function. We work with these aspects by implementing molecular, histological, transgenic and optogenetic methodology. We connect selected neurons to whole-organism behavior, and explore the effect of context. Our research aims to experimentally decode brain complexity – in both health and disease.

New finding: Molecular patterns allow identification of 3 distinct domains that constitute the subthalamic nucleus

Spatio-molecular domains identified in the mouse subthalamic nucleus and neighboring glutamatergic and GABAergic brain structures

Using single-nuclei transcriptomics followed through with multi-fluorescent labeling of identified mRNA via in situ hybridization in mouse brain tissue, we were able to identify three major domains within the subthalamic nucleus (STNa, STNb, STNc), one small domain (STNds) that were distinguished by mRNA patterns. In addition, subareas within the zona incerta and additional adjacent brain areas were identified.

Read more in Wallén-Mackenzie Å et al, 2020, Communications Biology

Last modified: 2021-06-07