“You are what you do”. This common expression suggests that the actions we take, whether conscious or not, define our lives. Indeed, our very survival hinges on the ability of our nervous system to generate appropriate behavioral responses to the world around and within us. How then, do we decide which actions to take? How does the brain integrate signals related to sensory inputs, internal state and motor plans to influence motor output? And how does experience modify these circuits to reinforce specific motor actions?
The goal of the Tritsch lab is to answer these fundamental questions by examining how a group of evolutionarily conserved brain areas known as the basal ganglia (BG) controls behavior in mice. The BG are critical for the selection, execution and reinforcement of motor actions, and their dysfunction in humans is implicated in several neurological illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, distonia, drug addiction, and obsessive-compulsive disorders; however, the precise mechanisms employed by the BG to influence habitual and goal-directed movements in health and disease remain poorly understood.
Our studies span several levels of analysis, from synapses to circuits, and utilize diverse experimental approaches such as whole-cell electrophysiology, two-photon imaging, fiber photometry and optogenetics in both brain slices and awake behaving mice. Our research efforts are currently focused on understanding the powerful influence that dopamine-producing neurons exert on BG circuits to promote and reinforce motor actions.
The Tritsch lab is seeking inquisitive and highly motivated individuals to investigate how neural activity shapes motor behavior and identify novel means of alleviating the debilitating symptoms of movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
Graduate students currently enrolled in a graduate program at NYU should reach out to Nic directly to discuss the possibility of rotating in the lab. Students wishing to take part in NYU's thriving and collegial neuroscience research community are highly encouraged to apply in the fall to the integrated Neuroscience Graduate Training Program.
Candidates with an excellent record of research achievements and expertise in electrophysiology, two-photon imaging, behavior and/or computational neuroscience are particularly encouraged to apply. Please email Nic directly with a brief introduction, CV and the names and contact information of three reference writers.
The Tritsch lab is part of the new Neuroscience Institute and Fresco Institute for Parkinson's and Movement Disorders at the NYU Langone Health. We are affiliated with the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology. We are fortunate to benefit from state-of-the-art research facilities and to be part of a strong and vibrant research community, surrounded by excellent labs (Basu, Buzsaki, Chao, Dasen, Froemke, Liddelow, Lin, Long, Nagel, Rice, Rinberg, Ringstad, Schoppik and Tsien, to name a few) with which we interact regularly.
435 East 30th St
NYU Science Building, 13th floor
New York, NY 10016
nicolas.tritsch at nyulangone.org (email)