The goal of Mark Andermann’s lab seeks to understand how the needs of the body determine which sensory cues are attended to, learned and remembered. To understand these neural phenomena at the level of local cortical microcircuitry, the lab has developed a paradigm for chronic two-photon calcium imaging of visual responses in identified neurons and axonal boutons in primary visual cortex and higher visual cortical areas of mice performing visual discrimination tasks or running on a trackball. Andermann and his colleagues have since extended these methods to image neurons in many cortical and subcortical brain areas during a range of behaviors.
The Andermann lab is located in the Division of Endocrinology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Through collaborations with the neighboring lab of Brad Lowell, they have a unique ability to pursue studies of neural representations of ongoing need states and neural sensitivity to motivationally salient stimuli (e.g., learned food-predicting cues vs. water-predicting cues) using natural manipulations of motivational states (e.g., hunger and thirst), together with optetrode recordings and photostimulation and tracking of specific cell types in the hypothalamus that rapidly promote food-, water- and, more recently, mate-seeking. The lab’s investigation of circuits and neuromodulation in the brainstem, hypothalamus, cortex, amygdala, thalamus and ventral tegmental area builds on the above technical and conceptual expertise.