DATE: January 2020
University of Maryland Baltimore County | Biological Sciences
Tara Legates | Assistant Professor

Using Hamilton syringes will be critical for the success of my students as we pursue our research goals. We are interested in the integration between the circadian system and mental health. Despite the overwhelming evidence linking circadian rhythms and mental health, the neuronal circuits connecting these two systems remains understudied. We will employ a multilevel strategy, extending from synapses to behavior, to examine the neuronal circuit mechanisms linking the circadian system with behaviors related to mental health, with specific focus on reward related behaviors. To do this, we will use viral mediated approaches to target and manipulate neuronal circuits in mouse brain slices while recording responses electrophysiologically. We will then use this viral mediated approach to manipulate circuit function in vivo. This will be a powerful approach to dissect neuronal circuit function and Hamilton syringes will be a critical resource. I am also planning to teach an upper level neuroscience course, Physiological Basis of Behavior which will involve an extensive discussion of neuronal communication. I plan to incorporate some hands on experience for students to label neurons and their projections. Hamilton syringes will be critical for the success of this portion of the class and will allow me to incorporate an experience that will leave a lasting impression on these students. It is a chance for them to think about neuroscience in a way in which they might have previously and become active participants in their learning.

I am dedicated to training the next generation of scientists while doing innovative research that will help us better understand mental health. I have always been fascinated by how brain regions communicate with one another to regulate behavior and how abnormalities in this communication can lead to psychiatric diseases. I fell in love with science and research as a undergraduate and have since been motivated by my desire to make that experience possible for others. UMBC is the perfect place to do that. The undergraduate and graduate students are highly motivated and incredibly intelligent, and it is an amazing, supportive environment for students to engage in research.