Seth Tomchik, Ph.D.

Neuroscience & Pharmacology

Plasticity is a fundamental feature of the nervous system, which allows an organism to alter its neurodevelopmental trajectory, retain memories of experiences in order to guide future actions, and respond to changes in environmental conditions. I am interested in how these processes work, as well as how genetic disorders impact them. My research addresses three major areas:

I) Neurodevelopmental disorders, hyperactivity, and repetitive behaviors: how do mutations underlying genetic disorders – such as neurofibromatosis type 1 – influence motor activity and repetitive behaviors?

II) Learning and memory: how do neuromodulatory circuits influence the acquisition and storage of sensory information, allowing an animal to form predictions about the world that influence subsequent behavior?

III) Metabolic homeostasis: how do mutations in genetic disorder risk factor genes influence neuronal circuit function and alter metabolic homeostasis?

My lab’s research dissects these processes at the molecular, cellular, and neuronal circuit levels. This research leverages a range of techniques, from genetics and molecular biology through in vivo imaging, optogenetics, and behavioral analysis. Ultimately, we aim to understand how neuronal plasticity allows animals to adjust their physiology and behavior adaptively, and how these processes are disrupted in genetic disorders.