Dr. Jennifer Kaufling

Dr. Jennifer Kaufling

Postdoctoral Neuroscientist

Jennifer Kaufling’s scientific interest in the structure and function of the basal ganglia started when, during her undergraduate studies, she first looked down a microscope and observed the dopaminergic neurons of the midbrain.  She then decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience with Dr. Michel Barrot at the University of Strasbourg, France, where they discovered and anatomically characterised the GABAergic ‘tail’ of the ventral tegmental area (tVTA) (also known as the rostromedial tegmental area), a novel control centre for the mesolimbic dopaminergic system.  After gaining her Ph.D. in 2010, Jennifer moved to the Medical University of South Carolina, USA, to undertake postdoctoral research in the group of Professor Gary Aston-Jones.  There, Jennifer’s work focused on the use of in vivo electrophysiology to define the roles of the tVTA in opiate addiction.  In 2013, she joined the team of Dr. François Georges at the University of Bordeaux, France, to continue with her studies on midbrain dopaminergic neurons, where she notably studied the excitatory regulation of VTA dopaminergic neurons by the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.

Since August 2014, Jennifer has worked in the Magill Group. She currently uses a combination of in vivo single-unit recordings, genetic manipulations and behavioural procedures to study the functions of the basal ganglia and, more particularly, of pallidal circuits.

 

Key Research Areas

  • Differentiating novel populations of neurons within the basal ganglia.
  • Investigating the roles played by basal ganglia neurons in movement.
  • Cellular and network basis of neuronal activity in the basal ganglia.
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