An unpredicted salient event – rewarding or aversive – triggers a rapid emotional reaction that has profound impact in making a future choice. The hierarchical anatomical and functional organization as well as the cellular mechanisms underlying acute perception of reward and aversive events remains unknown. Intriguingly, salience experience alters the activity of lateral habenula (LHb) as well as downstream monoaminergic systems including the dopaminergic and serotoninergic.

Our general interest is to provide a causality between synaptic modifications in discrete neuronal circuit and the behavioral adaptations in physiological and pathological states including addiction and depression.


We combine a variety of approaches including 

  • in vitro patch-clamp electrophysiology
  • viral-based anterograde and retrograde tracing
  • optogenetics