My lab studies how circuitry in the brain gives rise to complex behaviors, one of nature’s great mysteries. We study how the auditory cortex processes sound, and how this is interrupted in autism. We also seek to obtain a wiring diagram of the mouse brain at the resolution of individual neurons. Our unusual approach exploits cheap and rapid “next-gen” gene sequencing technology.
Anthony Zador and colleagues study how brain circuitry gives rise to complex behavior. Work in the lab is focused on two main areas. First, they ask how the cortex processes sound, how that processing is modulated by attention, and how it is disrupted in neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism. Recently, the lab found that when a rat makes a decision about a sound, the information needed to make the decision is passed to a particular subset of neurons in the auditory cortex whose axons project to a structure called the striatum. In the second major line of work in the Zador lab, they are developing new methods for determining the complete wiring instructions of the mouse brain at single-neuron resolution, which they term the “Connectome.” In contrast to previous methods, which make use of microscopy, these methods exploit high-throughput DNA sequencing. Because the costs of DNA sequencing are plummeting so rapidly, these methods have the potential to yield the complete wiring diagram of an entire brain for just thousands of dollars.
The year of CRISPR
December 26, 2018
It’s hard to have missed the acronym CRISPR this year! Headlines in the news have heralded game changing possibilities in biomedicine. Controversy and debate continue to sizzle worldwide among scientists and policymakers over the ethical implications of gene editing in humans. At Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), though, CRISPR isn’t just about headlines. It is...
Dr. Zador wins Transformative Investigator award
August 8, 2018
Anthony Zador, a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) professor and the Alle Davis and Maxine Harrison Endowed Chair of Neurosciences, has been named a Gill Symposium Transformative Investigator for his work on MAPseq. The prize honors researchers who have made exceptional contributions to cellular or molecular neuroscience. MAPseq (Multiplexed Analysis of Projections by Sequencing) is...
Portrait of a Neuroscience Powerhouse
April 27, 2018
At noon every Tuesday from September through June, scenes from a revolution in neuroscience are playing out at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Week after week, over 100 scientists cram themselves into a ground-floor meeting room in the Beckman Laboratory. It’s standing-room only as everyone in the Neuroscience Program settles in to hear details of the...
Revolutionary brain-mapping technique provides new blueprint for cortical connections
March 28, 2018
Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Using a revolutionary new brain-mapping technology recently developed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), an international team of scientists led by Professor Anthony Zador have made a discovery that will force neuroscientists to rethink how areas of the cortex communicate with one another. The new technology, called MAPseq, allowed the...
New leadership roles in BRAIN Initiative and International Brain Lab reflect CSHL’s excellence in neuroscience
October 24, 2017
Cold Spring Harbor, NY – The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) yesterday announced multiple grant awards totaling $50 million per year for five years to fund cutting-edge research on the brain. The project, part of the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), establishes a Center and a...
The brain atlas
December 14, 2016
BasePairs podcast One in six people suffers from a mental disorder, and yet, compared to cancer and infectious disease, neuropsychiatric treatment options have barely improved in decades! Why is that? In this episode of Base Pairs, we talk to Stanford Professor Robert Malenka about the limitations that classic business practices place on modern drug development....
Revolutionary method to map the brain at single-neuron resolution is successfully demonstrated
August 19, 2016
MAPseq uses RNA sequencing to rapidly and inexpensively find the diverse destinations of thousands of neurons in a single experiment in a single animal Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Neuroscientists today publish in Neuron details of a revolutionary new way of mapping the brain at the resolution of individual neurons, which they have successfully demonstrated...
If you thought all neuroscientists work with neurons, you’re wrong
February 25, 2016
LabDish blog Neuroscientists who work with real neurons will swap ideas with those who work solely on mathematics at this year’s Cosyne conference. Follow #theoryMatters on Twitter for videos of them explaining why they need to work together. Associate Professor Anne Churchland on why collaboration between neuroscientists who focus on theory and those who conduct...
A consortium to map the brain is launched
February 2, 2016
Boston, MA and Cold Spring Harbor, NY — The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University today announced a cross-institutional consortium to map the brain’s neural circuits with unprecedented fidelity. The consortium is made possible by a $21 million contract from the government’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and aims to discover...
5th Graders spend a day as young scientists
December 16, 2015
LabDish blog …and it was “the best trip ever.” A tiny amoeba crawling across a microscope slide is much more likely to grab kids’ attention than a lecture on single-celled organisms. Any science teacher knows that a hands-on demonstration like setting up a microscope or dissecting an earthworm is the most surefire way to engage...
Znamenskiy, P. and Zador, A. M. (2013) Corticostriatal neurons in auditory cortex drive decisions during auditory discrimination. Nature, 497 pp. 482-485.
Zador, A. M. and Dubnau, J. and Oyibo, H. K. and Zhan, H. and Cao, G. and Peikon, I. D. (2012) Sequencing the Connectome. PLoS Biology, 10(10)
Jaramillo, E. S. and Zador, A. M. (2010) The auditory cortex mediates the perceptual effects of acoustic temporal expectation. Nat Neurosci, 14(2) pp. 246-51.
Otazu, G. H. and Tai, L. H. and Yang, Y. and Zador, A. M. (2009) Engaging in an auditory task suppresses responses in auditory cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 12(5) pp. 646 - 654 .
Wehr, M. and Zador, A. M. (2003) Balanced inhibition underlies tuning and sharpens spike timing in auditory cortex. Nature, 426(6965) pp. 442-6.Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository