My long-term research goal is to understand the mechanisms by which neuromodulation drives the activity of neurons, and ultimately behavior. Specifically, we use olfaction as a model system to learn how neuromodulators such as noradrenaline and acetylcholine influence sensory processing. Using several techniques, including electrophysiology, imaging, and the targeted expression of optogenetic and chemogenetics tools, we control the activity of neuromodulatory systems that regulate olfactory circuits. One of our aims is to determine how these neuromodulators influence odor-guided behaviors. Interestingly, olfactory circuits are exceptionally plastic; they are among the few in the brain known to be replenished with adult born neurons. This gives us the unique opportunity to study how neuromodulators influence the integration of adult born neurons in a pre-existing brain circuit.
Dr. Araneda is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department of the University of Maryland at College Park. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York (1997). He completed his postdoctoral training at Columbia University, where he was also an Associate Research Scientist (1997-2006).