Dissecting Neural Circuits

We use genetically-targeted optogenetic tools to label specific circuits in the brain, manipulate their activity, and decipher their contribution to behavior and the underlying neural code.
We are also collaborating with Krishna
Jayant developing nano-scale technology to uncover the role of dendritic integration in sensorimotor processing. See here: https://nanoneurotech.com/
During active sensation, sensors scan space to generate a representation of the outside world. For example, we track objects with our eyes, and use our fingers to search for the light-switch in the dark. However, most studies investigating spatial receptive fields are performed using a fixed coordinate frame, where the sensors are not moving. We explore how different brain regions mediate and represent actively scanned space.


Mapping Sensory Space

Tactile Behavior

Sensorimotor loops

The midbrain superior colliculus (SC) is a centralized hub that integrates sensory, motor, and intentional information to guide behavior. Deactivation or lesion of the SC greatly impairs an animal's ability to attend to relevant cues, ignore distractions, and execute the appropriate response. The parallel integration of multiple, disparately organized cortical circuits in the SC is likely critical to forming its rich representations of sensory information that guide its motor decisions. What is the physiological and behavioral significance of this widespread, parallel convergence of cortical input to the SC?

Motor cortex neurons projecting to SC and S1

S1 Cortico-collicular neurons


Corticocollicular Circuit Mechanisms of

Sensory-guided Behavior