The Bender Lab is interested in understanding how the brain encodes information at the synaptic, cellular, and network level.

We employ a variety of electrophysiological, optical, and genetic techniques to probe information processing across neuronal compartments, from synaptic inputs onto dendritic spines, to the site of action potential initiation in the axon initial segment, to transmitter release in axonal boutons.

We focus primarily on limbic circuitry, including frontocortical circuits whose dysfunction has been implicated in neuropsychiatric disease and substance abuse. Within these structures, we aim to understand how neurons transform synaptic input to action potential output, how neuromodulators refine these transforms, and how information processing is altered in neurological disease, neurodevelopmental disorders, and by drugs of abuse.

The lab is supported by grants from NIMH, NIDA, NIAAA, and the Simons Foundation