Alexandre Tiriac, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
I am fascinated by how neural circuits develop to form the intricate adult nervous system that underlies our many functions and behaviors. Specifically, my lab aims to understand the factors that promote or impair the development of neural circuits. Right now, we are specifically studying how neural activity, arising either spontaneously within the neural circuits or evoked by environmental stimuli, affect the development of the visual system. We use a combination of genetic tools and environmental manipulations to alter activity during development, and then use behavior, two-photon calcium imaging, and multielectrode array recordings to assess visual function. Our work is aimed at gaining a fundamental understanding of neural development but has also been shown to be clinically relevant. My lab will soon branch out to answer similar questions in the development of the somatosensory and motor system. Please see https://www.tiriaclab.org/research for more information.
A bit about me: I was born and raised in France to Romanian parents, so I speak French, Romanian, and English. I moved to California when I was thirteen and found a passion for developmental neuroscience research during my undergraduate studies at UC Davis. I pursued a PhD in Dr. Mark Blumberg’s lab at the University of Iowa studying how REM sleep twitches during development trigger sensory feedback throughout the sensory and motor system. I then pursued my postdoctoral studies in Dr. Marla Feller’s lab at UC Berkeley studying how spontaneous activity in retina shapes the development of visual circuits. I unexpectedly learned throughout my scientific career that I value mentoring as much as I value research. The goal of my laboratory is therefore twofold: to make seminal discoveries in developmental neuroscience and to train students and postdocs to become excellent scientists.