Misson Statement

The goal of the Section on Neural Circuits is to understand how genetic and environmental insults affect the computation of neural signals within brain networks to cause neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, epilepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


Research Topics

The mission of the Section on Neural Circuits is to understand how genetic and environmental insults affect behavior. Specifically, we examine how alterations in the input to, computation in, and output of neural networks contribute to the development of disorders like autism, epilepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To this end, we apply a multi-systems approach incorporating molecular, genetic, pharmacological, behavioral and electrophysiological analyses in mouse models and patient-derived human neurons to:

  1. Identify vulnerable nodes within neural networks that promote abnormal brain function.
  2. Develop novel approaches to repair or optimize network output.



Steven Vogel

Michelle Antoine, PhD, Chief
telephone: 301-435-1191
E-mail: michelle.antoine@nih.gov
Michelle Antoine completed her postdoctoral training as a Miller Research Fellow and a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Dr. Daniel Feldman at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she investigated the synaptic and circuit mechanisms that contribute to Autism Spectrum Disorder. She completed her Ph.D. with Dr. Jean Hébert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she elucidated a novel mechanism for the inner ear regulation of striatal signaling, repetitive behavior and motor hyperactivity. This finding emphasized that sensory impairments may be overlooked as contributors to disorders that are conventionally thought to be of cerebral origin such as ADHD and autism. She started at the NIAAA in 2020 as a Stadtman tenure-track investigator and is currently a Distinguished NIH Scholar and the Acting Chief of the Section on Neural Circuits.


Selected Publications

Antoine MW, Langberg T, Schnepel P, Feldman DE. Increased excitation-inhibition ratio stabilizes synapse and circuit excitability in four autism mouse models. Neuron. 2019 101(4):648-661. (Featured article) (highlighted in Spectrum, Science Translational Medicine, F1000 Prime Recommended, and The Scientist Magazine)

Antoine MW, Zhu X, Dieterich M, Brandt T, Vijayakumar S, McKeehan N, Arezzo JC, Zukin RS, Borkholder DA, Jones SM, Frisina RD, Hébert JM. Early uneven ear input long lasting differences in left-right motor function. PLoS Biol. 2018 16, e2002988. (highlighted in Neuroscience News and Everyday Health)

Antoine MW, Vijayakumar S, McKeehan N, Jones SM, and Hébert JM. The severity of vestibular dysfunction in deafness as a determinant of comorbid hyperactivity or anxiety. Journal of Neuroscience 2017 37 (20): 5144-5154.

Antoine MW, Hübner CA, Arezzo JC, Hébert JM. A causative link between inner ear defects and long-term striatal dysfunction. Science 2013 Sep 6; 341(6150): 1120-3. (highlighted in the Leading Edge of Cell; Scientific America, Science Daily and popular news sites)