Nino Tabatadze Research Assistant Professor

Research Summary

Animals adapt to ever-changing physiological demands and environmental conditions by modifying their behavior. It has become increasingly apparent that tonic and ‘on-demand’ release of neuromodulators at central synapses can each rapidly modify neuronal physiology, including synaptic transmission, leading to these changes in behavior. Neuromodulators influence synaptic communication through a number of mechanisms, each of which entails complex molecular interactions. My research focuses on cannabinoid and neurosteroid estrogen signaling that have both been proven to fine-tune synaptic plasticity in the brain. A single modulator can control multiple aspects of intrinsic and extrinsic properties of a single neuron, and multiple modulators (e.g., cannabinoids and neurosteroids) can affect these properties through converging and/or diverging intracellular pathways. Using both in vitro and in vivo model systems, I am interested in deciphering molecular mechanisms by which neuromodulators shape local neuronal circuits at levels ranging from genes to biochemical pathways and eventually behaviors.