After over 35 years of advancing research and training in the behavioral neurosciences, the Sarter Lab has closed as Prof. Sarter is retiring.

Research in the Sarter Lab has focused on the regulation and function of a major component of the brain’s attention systems, the cortical cholinergic input system. We have been specifically interested in understanding what cognitive processes are mediated via fast or “transient” cholinergic signals, and how we can use this knowledge to enhance and restore cognition in healthy subjects and patients, respectively.

Our research utilized a wide range or neuroscientific methods, including sophisticated electrochemical techniques to monitor synaptic neurotransmitter release in performing rodents, optogenetic methods and DREADDs to control different aspects of cortical cholinergic activity and cortico-striatal glutamatergic signaling, and genetic approaches to vary the capacity of cholinergic neurons to sustain elevated levels of neurotransmission.

We have conducted parallel and converging research in rodents and humans, to validate and expand our conclusions from animal models, and to determine the relevance of our basic research in animals for human cognition and cognitive disorders. The Table below summarizes our main basic and translational research projects and it illustrates the parallel research strategies in rodents and humans.