Sachs Family Lecturer in Brain Science
Laboratory of neural coding
The main focus of the lab is on the interface between the biophysical properties of individual neurons and neuronal coding. In particular, we focus on questions that relate the interaction between nonlinear processes in dendrites and their effect on the way neurons encode information. A key factor of neuronal coding is neuronal noise, both at the cellular level and in the network. Therefore, we are also interested in the interaction between the single neuron and the network in which it is embedded – the effect neuron’s activity on the network as well as the effect of the network’s activity on the neuron.
Concerning model systems, we believe that it is essential to consider both sensory systems where stimuli are external to the organism as well as self-generated activity. For the first, we focus on the barrel cortex in mice, and for the latter, we are beginning to explore the mouse ultrasonic vocalization motor system as well as the prefrontal cortex. We aspire to carry out experiments inspired by theoretical predictions and to combine modeling in order to access aspects of the questions that are not accessible by experiments. We use a variety of advanced techniques in order to answer these questions including Whole-cell patch clamp, Two-Photon imaging, Optogenetics, Ultrasonic sound recordings, and computer simulations.