We study how cognitive abilities emerge from interactions between neurons. Our lab is especially interested in understanding how the collective activity of neurons in brain networks gives rise to cognitive phenomena, such as the ability to make decisions and form new memories. We study these questions in mice engaged in cognitively complex behaviors involving decision-making, navigation, and the use of short-term memory.
We employ cutting edge electrophysiological, imaging, and optogenetic techniques that enable turning ON and OFF specific neurons, in combination with advanced computational methods for modeling and analysis of neural dynamics. This allows us not only to ‘read’ the mind by recording neural activity during behavior, but also to manipulate cognitive processes by ‘writing’ information directly into the brain to influence decisions and create artificial memories.
In addition to studying neural interactions in the healthy brain, our lab is interested in reorganization of brain networks during neurodegeneration, with a focus on brain plasticity following stroke.