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Ogundele Lab

The brain is made up of numerous interconnected neurons that communicate through synapses. In the cognitive centers, synchronized activity among neurons generates spikes and bursts of action potentials that encode information at the network level. Our laboratory studies synaptic mechanisms that regulate network excitability and coding in these brain regions. We also investigate the distribution of midbrain presynaptic terminals in the cognitive centers to understand their role in learning and decision-making.

Ventral tegmental area projections in decision-making


Our research focuses on understanding the role of midbrain neurotransmitter-specific neural projections in the cognitive processes of the hippocampus and mPFC. We use neuroanatomical and functional tracing methods to achieve this, along with high-impedance silicon probe recording (in vivo electrophysiology) and computational analysis methods. In addition, we use Cre-lox recombination and promoter-driven systems to express light-controllable opsin in VTA neural projections. We combine in vivo neural recording and optogenetic modulation of circuits in freely behaving mice to dissect the neural basis of reward and valency-linked behavioral expression. Currently, we are investigating the function of midbrain glutamatergic projections to the hippocampus in novelty learning, context discrimination, and habituation to novel stimuli.

Hypothalamic stress circuits in adaptive learning


We use optogenetic and chemogenetic tools to control the activity of CRF neurons in the hypothalamus and amygdala of mice. These experiments are conducted on freely moving mice that are engaged in cognitive tasks such as T-Maze or other tasks that help detect anxiety-related behavior. The goal of our current project is to determine the specific role of CRF projections in adaptive behavioral response and cognitive decline caused by stress.

Activity-coupled regulation of synaptic substrates

We are researching a new synaptic regulatory mechanism that connects the translocation of T286 pCaMKIIα to the recruitment of small conductance channels (SK2) at the spine. Our recent study has revealed that this activity-driven mechanism is crucial for maintaining a balance between network "excitability" and "adaptation" during glutamatergic ionotropic neurotransmission.


Tubulin/T286 pCaMKIIα

Currently, we are investigating the role of SK2 in cellular mechanisms that help CA1 network adaptation by regulating the dendritic shaft-to-spine translocation of T286 pCaMKIIα.

Lab News

05-17-2024: Commentary about our article in IBRO Neuroscience.

LSU Dist Fac Award.jpg

05-16-2024: LSU Distinguished Faculty Award.

News article:


02-28-2024: Philip Saint-Martin wins 5th overall best poster (DVM Category) at the annual Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day.

11-30-2023: LSU Vet Med researcher awarded a $1.8 million grant by NIMH for brain circuit research.


05-13-2024: VTA excitatory neurons impact reward-driven behavior by modulating infralimbic cortical firing.


Ph.D. Dissertation defense.
Congratulations Dr. David Odenheimer.


05-06-2024: Ignitius Lim wins 3rd Place in the poster category at the LSU Graduate Research Conference. Congratulations. a

04-26-2022: LSU Veterinary School announces teaching awards.



03-18-2024: Ignitius Lim wins best poster award at the SFN (Baton Rouge Chapter) maiden Annual Symposium.

03-02-2022: Ogundele receives a grant to study the brain’s neural circuits, decision-making, and possible involvement in neurological disorders.


Our research is supported by the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, and the following agencies.


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