• 4963
    Citations
20042023

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Kravitz is interested in the study of basal ganglia circuits and how their function changes in disease states such as obesity, addiction, and anxiety disorders. Under normal conditions, the basal ganglia drives animals toward the selection of adaptive behavioral outcomes. Learning can bias this selection process toward specific behavior by altering synapses within and outside the basal ganglia. Unfortunately, these same synaptic alterations can be hijacked by disease, resulting in unhealthy behavioral outputs, such as in obesity and drug addiction. Using high throughput behavioral testing, optogenetics, and electrical and optical brain recordings, the Kravitz lab characterizes changes in behavior in animal models of disease, and attempts to understand the neural correlates and causes of these changes.

Mentoring

The ability to mentor and train the next generation of scientists is crucial to scientific discovery.  I follow four points to guide my approach to training and mentorship in my lab:

1) Everyone learns differently.

I try to present ideas in different ways to different people and maintain an active gauge of how well everyone understands difficult concepts. If someone is having trouble with a technique I try different ways of teaching it to them, or give them time and resources to learn at their own pace.

2) Shared goals and responsibilities.

Trainees have a responsibility to perform at a high level in both the classroom and laboratory. Mentors have a responsibility to make sure students reach their full potential in these settings. Success is best achieved with regular communication, as well as written development plans that outline the goals of both parties, and how they can work together to achieve their shared goals.

3) Written plans.

I believe in explicitly writing out shared goals, and plotting a course towards achieving them.  This is true for all goals, both big and small. I encourage students in my lab to write out both short and long term goals, in terms of scientific growth, training on new techniques, and professional development. This written plan allows both the mentor and the mentee to understand the goals and path up front, and to become aware of when they are deviating from these goals and need to correct the course.

4) Commitment to Diversity.

I am committed to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in my lab and in the larger Wash U communities that I am a part of. My lab welcomes anyone who wants to learn and grow as a scientist, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. Science requires a diversity of thoughts, ideas, and opinions to move forward, and I value lab members who push our thinking in new directions.

Available to Mentor:

  • PhD/MSTP Students

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