Dr. Caras received a B.S. in neuroscience with highest honors and B.S. in biology at Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA. She then took off for the west coast, earning a Ph.D. in neurobiology and behavior under the direction of Drs. Edwin Rubel and Eliot Brenowitz, at the University of Washington, in Seattle. After graduating, she moved back east to pursue postdoctoral studies with Dr. Dan Sanes at New York University. Dr. Caras is now thrilled to be a member of the scientific community at the University of Maryland.
PhDNeurobiology and Behavior, University of Washington
BSNeuroscience, Brandeis University
BSBiology, Brandeis University
The ability to improve and refine sensory facilities with practice - a process known as perceptual learning - is critical for the acquisition of a variety of complex behaviors, including speech and language. The fundamental importance of perceptual learning in shaping our day-to-day actions and perceptions makes it of vital interest to determine how training-based improvements are implemented in the brain. Dr. Caras explores this issue by measuring and manipulating the activation of neural circuits in freely-moving, behaving animals, with a primary focus on plasticity in auditory and top-down modulatory networks. Her laboratory employs a number of advanced approaches, including wireless recordings from multichannel electrode arrays, optogenetics, targeted infusions of pharmacological agents, quantitative animal behavior, and neuroanatomical tracing.