The Nick Lab
Control of Plasticity
Welcome to the Nick Lab!
We study the control of plasticity in neural systems and behaviors. Our initial studies focused on birdsong, which is a good model for human speech. We discovered cellular and molecular characteristics in the brain that parallel the sensitive period for vocal learning, such as prolonged bursting and the regulation of perineuronal nets. These features are shared with other critical periods, such as that for ocular dominance plasticity.
We continue work on the birdsong model, due to the anatomically distinct neural control system, well characterized sensitive period for vocal learning, highly quantifiable behavior, and similarities with other critical periods. In addition, we are collaborating with Lorene Lanier in an examination of the cellular and network effects of factors associated with critical periods in a highly accessible mouse "forebrain-in-a-dish" model. We'll be updating you on this and other studies as the data come in. Meanwhile, feel free to check out our previous publications and research. If you have questions, please contact Teresa Nick.