- Clarendon Scholar
The striatum has been shown to be essential in motor planning and motivation, in addition to being involved in cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Two key striatal circuits, the striatopallidal and striatonigral pathways, work in a fine balance to regulate action initiation and termination. As such, striatal circuit dysfunction has been identified as a key marker of neurodegenerative diseases, namely Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The Minichiello Group has previously established genetic tools to molecularly dissect the striatopallidal circuit, which has been specifically implicated in Huntington’s disease. Recently, we have also refined state-of-the-art single cell RNA sequencing and microfluidic high-throughput quantitative gene expression analysis technologies to be able to study specific populations of neurons from adult mouse brains.
My work leverages these techniques to study, at the single cell level, the striatopallidal circuit in the normal working adult mouse brain and why it is that this circuit is so central to the progression of Huntington’s disease.