Arnab Barik

Stepping barefoot on a pin is excruciatingly painful and evokes an intense and immediate physical reaction as well as an emotional response. We rub our feet where it hurts, we scream in pain, we move away from the spot to avoid experiencing the pain a second time. We also remember the spot on the floor where the pin was, and we try to avoid walking there again until we know there are no more pins lying around. In essence, all of our physical and mental capacities are overtaken momentarily by a relatively inconsequential event. In our laboratory, we seek to understand how small groups of neurons in the brain are able to drive specific aspects of such defensive behaviors. How do these neurons receive the painful information? What are their anatomical architectures? How do these neurons communicate with the rest of the nervous system and control precise behaviors? We intend to answer these questions by taking advantage of molecular, optical, and computational tools to manipulate behavior, map circuits, and record neural activity in mice.

Faculty: Arnab Barik


“Barik A, Thompson J, Seltzer M, Ghitani N, Chesler A, A brainstem-spinal circuit controlling nocifensive behavior. Neuron. 2018. 100 (6), 1491-1503. e3.

Barik A, Thompson J, Seltzer M, Sathyamurthy A, Chesler A,A spinoparabrachial circuit defined by Tacr1 expression drives pain. 2021. eLife, 10:e61135.”

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