This focus area emphasizes understanding the signal transduction pathways underlying neurophysiological function in normal and disease states at the molecular, cellular, tissue, system, and organism levels. Students will understand trans-disease processes related to core brain functions that are required for appropriate behavioral regulation, attention, memory, and decision-making. Translational research experiences will combine approaches in genetics, biophysics, electrophysiology, functional imaging, and behavioral analyses in order to explore the mechanisms underlying normal and aberrant neuronal function in a variety of systems across the lifespan. Students will explore the use of animal models as a means for examining underlying causes of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychological disorders starting at the genetic level, working up through fundamental brain functioning, and then observing how these processes are impacted by individual experience throughout the lifespan. Students in this focus area will also understand neurocognitive and neurophysical abnormalities that are the source of a wide range of human disorders including depression, schizophrenia, autism, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, drug addiction, communication disorders, and others.