Led by principal investigator Alexei Morozov, Ph.D., the Morozov Laboratory is interested in social cognition, which is the ability to properly decode information from conspecifics. We are trying to answer the following questions. Which neuronal circuits decode social information? How they drive appropriate behaviors? What disrupts that process and causes social abnormalities like in autism and other mental disorders?
Because the simple forms of social cognition, like the ability to exchange information about danger or safety, are conserved between humans and rodents, one can investigate the basic mechanisms of social cognition in rodents using the powerful genetic, imaging and electrophysiological techniques, which cannot be used in humans. The Morozov Lab focuses on the emotional aspect of social cognition and study neuronal circuits that participate in social modulation of fear in mice. To this end, the lab has developed several behavioral paradigms for such modulation and employ several tools using machine learning-based behavioral analyses, optogenetics, and electrophysiological recordings in freely moving animals or ex vivo to identify the underlying neuronal process.