Dr. Chen's laboratory long-term goal is to understand how sensory information and physiological state integrate to drive decisions and behaviors. They are now focusing on interoception, which is the sense of the physiological condition of the body. This includes their abilities to feel hungry or satiated, to sense heightened blood pressure and heart rate during stress, and to discriminate different types of pain. In their lab, we combine genetics-based brain circuit manipulation with in vivo electrophysiological and optical recording of neuronal ensembles to dissect the coding logic underlying interoception.
In collaborate with Liqun Luo’s laboratory, they are developing a novel experimental strategy, which will allow them to visualize and manipulate neural activities through out the entire brain. Combining this novel experimental platform with optogenetic and in-vivo two-photon imaging, they will systematically deconstruct the neural circuit for interoceptive sense.