Pavel Osten

Pavel Osten

Adjunct Professor

M.D., Medical School of Charles University, Prague, 1991
Ph.D., SUNY Downstate Brooklyn, 1995

osten@cshl.edu | 516-367-6990

Faculty Profile

To understand what’s going wrong in illnesses like autism and schizophrenia, we need to know more about how neural circuits are connected in the healthy brain. We’ve developed advanced imaging methods to draw the first whole-brain activation map in the mouse. Now we’re applying that technology to study changes in brain activity in mice whose behavior models human autism and schizophrenia.

Pavel Osten’s lab works on identification and analysis of brain regions, neural circuits, and connectivity pathways that are disrupted in genetic mouse models of autism and schizophrenia. Osten hypothesizes that (1) systematic comparison of multiple genetic mouse models will allow determination of overlaps in pathology—neural circuit endophenotypes—responsible for the manifestation of neuropsychiatric disorders and (2) neural circuit-based classification of autism and schizophrenia will provide key circuit targets for detailed mechanistic studies and therapeutic development. Osten and colleagues have developed the first systematic approach to the study of neural circuits in mouse models of psychiatric diseases, based on a pipeline of anatomical and functional methods for analysis of mouse brain circuits. An important part of this pipeline is high-throughput microscopy for whole-mouse brain imaging, called serial two-photon (STP) tomography. This year, they used this method to describe the first whole-brain activation map representing social behavior in normal mice. They are currently focusing on using this approach to study brain activation changes in two mouse models of autism: the 16p11.2 df/+ mouse model, which shows an increased propensity to seizures and hyperactivity, and the CNTNAP2 knockout mouse model, which shows abnormal social behavior.

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