Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1998
The complexity of the mammalian brain challenges our ability to explain it. My group applies methods from mathematics and theoretical physics to understand the brain. We are generating novel ideas about neural computation and brain development, including how neurons process information, how brain networks assemble during development, and how brain architecture evolved to facilitate its function.
Alexei Koulakov and colleagues are trying to determine the mathematical rules by which the brain assembles itself, with particular focus on the formation of sensory circuits such as those involved in visual perception and olfaction. The visual system of the mouse was chosen for study in part because its components, in neuroanatomical terms, are well understood. What is not known is how projections are generated that lead from the eye through the thalamus and into the visual cortex, how an individual’s experience influences the configuration of the network, and what parameters for the process are set by genetic factors. Even less is known about the assembly of the neural net within the mouse olfactory system, which, in the end, enables the individual to distinguish one smell from another with astonishing specificity and to remember such distinctions over time. These are among the challenges that engage Koulakov and his team.
Wei, Y. and Koulakov, A. A. (2014) Long-term memory stabilized by noise-induced rehearsal. Journal of Neuroscience 34(47) pp. 15804-15.
Lak, A. and Costa, G. M. and Romberg, E. and Koulakov, A. A. and Mainen, Z. F. and Kepecs, A. (2014) Orbitofrontal Cortex Is Required for Optimal Waiting Based on Decision Confidence. Neuron 84(1) pp. 190-201.
Sanders, H. and Kolterman, B. E. and Shusterman, R. and Rinberg, D. and Koulakov, A. and Lisman, J. (2014) A network that performs brute-force conversion of a temporal sequence to a spatial pattern: relevance to odor recognition. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 8pp. Article no.108.
Wei, Yi and Koulakov, Alexei (2014) Supplementary information for “Long-term memory stabilized by noise-induced rehearsal”. Unpublished.
Wei, Y. and Tsigankov, D. and Koulakov, A. (2013) The molecular basis for the development of neural maps. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1305pp. 44-60.Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository