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Research:

Animal behavior typically involves interactions among networks of large numbers of interconnected neurons, but experimental techniques in most systems are limited to the direct measurement of single or small numbers of neurons. My laboratory uses computational modeling to bridge the gap between single-neuron measurements and hypothesized network function. We study a wide variety of systems and seek to address questions ranging from cellular and network dynamics to sensory coding to memory and plasticity. Currently, one major area of research is mechanisms for networks to maintain persistent activity given only transient inputs, as required for motor control and working memory tasks. Our work focuses primarily on a model system for studying such activity, the oculomotor neural integrator, in which transient eye movement commands are accumulated into persistent neural signals that control eye position. In collaboration with experimenters, we use electrophysiological and optical imaging data to dissect the contributions of synaptic inhibition, synaptic excitation, and intrinsic cellular properties to the generation of the observed neural activity. More recently, we have also been studying the role of the cerebellum in controlling the plasticity of oculomotor responses.


Affiliations:


Collaborators:

  • Aksay laboratory, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Website
  • BrainCOGS consortium (Brody, Pillow, Seung, Tank, Witten, Wang laboratories, Princeton University), Website
  • Raymond laboratory, Stanford University, Website
  • Fee laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Website