Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations
Member, Stanford Biology Postdoc Committee (2022 - Present)
Member, Stanford Biology Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee (2023 - Present)
Doctor of Philosophy, Cornell University (2021)
Ph.D., Cornell University, Applied and Engineering Physics (2021)
Lauren O'Connell, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Midbrain node for context-specific vocalisation in fish.
2024; 15 (1): 189
Vocalizations communicate information indicative of behavioural state across divergent social contexts. Yet, how brain regions actively pattern the acoustic features of context-specific vocal signals remains largely unexplored. The midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) is a major site for initiating vocalization among mammals, including primates. We show that PAG neurons in a highly vocal fish species (Porichthys notatus) are activated in distinct patterns during agonistic versus courtship calling by males, with few co-activated during a non-vocal behaviour, foraging. Pharmacological manipulations within vocally active PAG, but not hindbrain, sites evoke vocal network output to sonic muscles matching the temporal features of courtship and agonistic calls, showing that a balance of inhibitory and excitatory dynamics is likely necessary for patterning different call types. Collectively, these findings support the hypothesis that vocal species of fish and mammals share functionally comparable PAG nodes that in some species can influence the acoustic structure of social context-specific vocal signals.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-023-43794-y
View details for PubMedID 38167237
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10762186
Tissue-specific in vivo transformation of plasmid DNA in Neotropical tadpoles using electroporation.
2023; 18 (8): e0289361
Electroporation is an increasingly common technique used for exogenous gene expression in live animals, but protocols are largely limited to traditional laboratory organisms. The goal of this protocol is to test in vivo electroporation techniques in a diverse array of tadpole species. We explore electroporation efficiency in tissue-specific cells of five species from across three families of tropical frogs: poison frogs (Dendrobatidae), cryptic forest/poison frogs (Aromobatidae), and glassfrogs (Centrolenidae). These species are well known for their diverse social behaviors and intriguing physiologies that coordinate chemical defenses, aposematism, and/or tissue transparency. Specifically, we examine the effects of electrical pulse and injection parameters on species- and tissue-specific transfection of plasmid DNA in tadpoles. After electroporation of a plasmid encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP), we found strong GFP fluorescence within brain and muscle cells that increased with the amount of DNA injected and electrical pulse number. We discuss species-related challenges, troubleshooting, and outline ideas for improvement. Extending in vivo electroporation to non-model amphibian species could provide new opportunities for exploring topics in genetics, behavior, and organismal biology.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0289361
View details for PubMedID 37590232
Whole-brain optical access in a small adult vertebrate with two- and three-photon microscopy
2022; 25 (10): 105191
Although optical microscopy has allowed scientists to study the entire brain in early developmental stages, access to the brains of live, adult vertebrates has been limited. Danionella, a genus of miniature, transparent fish closely related to zebrafish has been introduced as a neuroscience model to study the adult vertebrate brain. However, the extent of optically accessible depth in these animals has not been quantitatively characterized. Here, we show that both two- and three-photon microscopy can access the entire depth and rostral-caudal extent of the adult wildtype Danionella dracula brain without any modifications to the animal other than mechanical stabilization. Three-photon microscopy provides higher signal-to-background ratio and optical sectioning of fluorescently labeled vasculature through the deepest part of the brain, the hypothalamus. Hence, we use multiphoton microscopy to penetrate the entire adult brain within the geometry of this genus' head structures and without the need for pigment removal.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105191
View details for Web of Science ID 000869487400006
View details for PubMedID 36248737
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9557827