The Fioravante laboratory investigates how foundational neural primitives including expectation, and violation of expectation, are implemented by mammalian microcircuits to support motivation and emotional and cognitive intelligence. We focus on the cerebellum, the brain’s “prediction machine”, the non-motor functions of which lack mechanistic understanding.
Our toolbox includes transgenic mice, optogenetics, ex vivo patch-clamp and in vivo large-scale electrophysiology, calcium imaging, Patch-seq and animal behavior assays. With these tools at hand, we aim to bridge the knowledge gap between synaptic, cellular and circuit levels of analysis.
By dissecting the operating principles of novel long-range cerebello-limbic circuits and their synaptic and molecular elements, we shed light on the functionality of these circuits and aspire to explain how their perturbations contribute to brain disorders. Our research has the potential to revise long-held views on how emotion- and reward-relevant operations are modulated in the mammalian brain and has implications for anxiety, PTSD, addiction and autism spectrum disorders.