WELCOME TO THE CHRISTOFFEL LAB @ UNC - CHAPEL HILL!
We are a part of the Behavioral & Integrative Neuroscience Program within the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and the UNC Neuroscience Center. The ultimate goal of our research is to understand how adaptive changes in brain function occur and how this can lead to the development of psychiatric disorders. We employ cutting-edge technologies to understand the complex interactions of multiple neural systems that allow us to adapt to our environment and regulate motivated behavior.
We study how the interplay between experience and brain adaptations shapes future behavior - the neurobiology of allostasis
Our experiences come to shape our future behaviors and can have lasting effects on our quality of life. Our research aims to understand how chronic exposure to distinct stimuli (stress, food, drugs) alters the functioning of specific neural circuits to regulate behavior.
We use converging approaches (anatomical tracing, physiology, chemo- & optogenetics) in parallel with advanced behavioral analysis to discover the mechanism underlying experience-dependent neural adaptations.
We modulate the activity of the genetically and anatomically defined circuits utilizing transgenic mice and viral engineering strategies (eg. chemo- or optogenetics) to determine the causal role of these circuits in motivated behavior.