Plexon Research Spotlight

Thomas Giustino

Graduate Student, Maren Lab, Texas A&M University

Kristina Wright


What type of neuroscience research do you do and what got you interested in this research?

As a graduate student I have been looking at how stress (and norepinephrine) affects the neural circuits underlying extinction learning. I first became interested in this specific line of research while taking an undergraduate psychology course. I have always had an interest in stress as it relates to neuropsychiatric disorders with the aim to improve empirical driven therapeutic approaches.

What challenges did you encounter along the way, and how did you overcome these challenges?

Keeping up with the rapid and ever-evolving technological advances in neuroscience and employing the latest techniques has presented some challenges. While these techniques offer new insight into the brain, there is often lots of trouble shooting and piloting that goes on behind the scenes that never makes it into final publications. All that said, there is nothing quite like seeing new data for the first time, particularly with a new technique, and knowing your efforts paid off.

What new technique do you think will have the greatest impact on Neuroscience research and how do you plan to apply this to your research ?

I am excited about the development and optimization of new imaging technology. Many new sensors are being developed to enable us to see real-time changes in calcium dynamics as well as dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine and more. We know that many of these neurotransmitters are implicated in a number of disease states, but we've been limited in our ability to better appreciate how and what exactly they're doing in the central nervous system. The advent of these new biosensors to understand transmitter dynamics in real time are poised to have a major impact in our understanding of the brain and behavior.

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