The focus of Dr. Dzirasa lab’s research is to determine how genetic variants interact with environmental factors (including stress and drugs of abuse) to lead to mental illness. They accomplish this by implanting multiple small electrodes directly into the brains of mice that express genes which lead to mental illness in humans. They then monitor the activity of many brain cells simultaneously as these mice perform various behavioral tasks. They also record brain activity in mice exposed to various environmental stresses, and drugs of abuse. It is their hope that these experiments will one day lead to the discovery of new treatments for our patients with mental illness.