M.D., Ph.D., Yale University, 1994
Neural circuits; sensory processing, attention and decision making; attention; molecular tool development; connectomics
My laboratory uses a combination of physiological, molecular, behavioral and computational approaches to study the cortical mechanisms underlying auditory processing, attention and decision making in rodents. Understanding these processes will help us understand the neural basis of cognition, and may also help us develop treatments for cognitive disorders. More recently, I have started on an project to "sequence the connectome." To address these questions, we use a combination of computational, electrophysiological and imaging techniques at the molecular, synaptic, cellular, circuit and behavioral levels.
Research in the lab is organized into two broad areas. On the physiology side, we study how the cortex represents sounds, how these representations are converted into actions, and how they are modulated by attention, motivation and other cognitive variables. We mostly study rodents (both rats and mice) performing two-alternative choice tasks in which the subject uses sounds and other stimuli to make a decision. Our behavioral approaches are inspired by work in awake behaving primates, but we use rodents as the model system, we can exploit the full armamentarium of modern cellular and molecular neuroscience techniques.
The second research area is the development of a technique to sequence the connectome. The basic idea is that DNA sequencing technologies are fast and cheap, and getting faster and cheaper by the day---the race is for the "thousand dollar genome." So our idea is to convert the problem of the connectome (ie figuring out which neurons are connected to which other neurons) into a problem amenable to sequencing. See my recent Plos Biology review "Sequencing the connectome" for details.
Please visit the Zador Lab home page.
Zador, A. M., J. Dubnau, H. K. Oyibo, H. Zhan, G. Cao and I. D. Peikon (2012). "Sequencing the connectome." PLoS Biol 10 (10): e1001411.
Jaramillo, S., and Zador, A.M. 2011. Auditory cortex mediates the perceptual effects of acoustic temporal expectation. Nat. Neurosci. 14: 246–251.
Otazu, G., Tai, L.H., Yang, Y., and Zador, A.M. 2009. Engaging in an auditory task suppresses responses in auditory cortex.Nat. Neurosci. 2: 646–654.
Yang, Y., DeWeese, M.R., Otazu, G., and Zador, A.M. 2008. Millisecond-scale differences in neural activity in auditory cortex can drive decisions. Nat. Neurosci. 11: 1262–1263.
Wehr, M., and Zador, A. 2003. "Balanced inhibition underlies tuning and sharpens spike timing in auditory cortex." Nature 426: 442–446.