Systems and Circuits

This focus area studies how neural circuits give rise to system-level phenomena. For example, we sense the world through peripheral receptors whose outputs are processed serially and in parallel, and ultimately united to form cohesive percepts and guide motor responses. Understanding these transformations requires bridging multiple scales ranging from individual neuron properties to patterns of neural circuit activity to specific behaviors. This multifaceted research relies on a variety of methods and approaches, such as multi-patch-clamp recordings, cell staining, imaging with voltage and calcium sensitive dyes, high-density electrophysiological recordings, behavioral experiments, and computational modeling. Some specific areas of research are:

  • biophysics of signal transduction
  • electrophysiological correlates of sound localization
  • psychophysical and computational studies of speech and visual processing
  • neural circuits responsible for visual perception and image segmentation
  • pattern generation circuitry controlling locomotion and breathing
  • control of the eyes and limbs
  • reorganization of cortical circuits during learning
  • memory formation and retrieval
  • neural circuit changes in epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and autism
  • circuits underlying stress responses, waking, and arousal