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The Chaudhury Lab at New York University Abu Dhabi uses a multidisciplinary approach combining rodent behavioural models of depression, optogenetics, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, viral tracing, pharmacological and imaging techniques to systematically investigate functional changes in cellular and molecular mechanism in neural circuits connecting the circadian and sleep/wake centers of the brain to regions associated with mood disorders such as depression.
Patients suffering from depression are known to exhibit aberrations in circadian rhythms and sleep/wake cycle. The increase in reported cases of global depression is thought, in part, to be due to the modern lifestyle where increasing number of people are exposed to situations that may effect circadian and sleep/wake rhythms such as extended nighttime exposure to bright lights and prolonged shift work.
Related to aberrations in biological rhythms, an unexpected and counterintuitive observation is that sleep deprivation alone or together with pharmacological medication is able to rapidly alleviate depression in subsets of patients suffering from mood disorders. Our lab is interested in investigating stress-induced changes in cellular and molecular pathways linking the circadian, sleep/wake and mood regulation centers of the brain that lead to depression. We use a multidisciplinary approach combining rodent behavioural models of depression, optogenetics, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, viral tracing, pharmacological and imaging techniques to systematically investigate these functional changes in the brain.