About The Lab:

Welcome to the lab!

What is Neuro-physics?

We are a lab interested in applying a physics paradigm to neuroscience problems. We explore phenomena in live functioning neurons. We look to illuminate the mechanistic properties that lead to neuronal function. Our lab currently focuses on the molecular level mechanisms of presynaptic function. We use microscopy, computational algorithms, genetic mouse/rat models, and pharmacological manipulation to understand and model the fundamental molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission. We then use our molecular level results to distinguish higher-level changes in cognition, such as memory formation.

 

Our overarching goal is to develop a paradigm of the “Physics of Cognition”:

The physics of cognition is a framework we are developing to describe the limits over which cognitive function can exist. 

For example, if there are limits to the ions used in a neuronal action potential, regardless of where life evolves, then cognitive function is limited by the physics of ionic behavior, which in turn limits the function of higher-level cognitive function.

Another example is if the structure and function of a synapse is necessary for cognition to occur regardless of where/when the species evolved, then that would suggest that the synapse is a fundamental unit of the universe and tied to the physical makeup of the universe.

 

Our Approach:

Our development of “The Physics of Cognition” perspective takes two forms:

First, we use known neuroscience to establish the limits over which processes occur.  We seek to expand established models, or develop new models of limits to which known neuroscience mechanisms exist. We then seek to apply these models to our experimental results in order to validate them.

Second, we seek to expand our understanding of neuroscience phenomena. There are many unsolved and unexplored mechanisms in neuroscience, and we seek to expand our understanding of these mechanisms in our lab.

Our General Research Areas:

Our lab currently focuses on the hippocampus region of the brain. The hippocampus is essential for memory formation and organization in cognitive function. We have two parallel approaches in our lab to explore this region of the brain.

Our first approach is to study molecular level mechanics in known rat models. We use these established models because of their extensive history and robust reproducibility. We seek to expand our understanding of fundamental neuroscience processes at the molecular level in these models. (See the page on Physics of Cognition for more).

Our second approach is to study mouse models of neurodegenerative or neuropsychiatric  disease. We think of these systems as deviations from normal neuronal function. We study the same processes in these models that we do in our rat models. We then compare our results in these mice models to normal mice and rat models in order to distinguish how normal cognitive function changes at the molecular level. These results and comparisons then provide us with limits on how cognition can occur within the universe. (See the page on Medical Science for more).

Looking for lab members!

We are a new lab! We are looking for lab members to join our group!

Contact

PI Contact Information:

Office: 3114 Leach Science Center

380 Duncan Drive
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849

Lab: 0152 Leach Science Center

Email:  mwg0016@auburn.edu