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Pavel Osten

Pavel Osten

Associate Professor

M.D., Medical School of Charles University, Prague, 1991
Ph.D., SUNY Downstate Brooklyn, 1995

osten@cshl.edu | (516) 367-6990

To understand what’s going wrong in illnesses like autism and schizophrenia, we need to know more about how neural circuits are connected in the healthy brain. We’ve developed advanced imaging methods to draw the first whole-brain activation map in the mouse. Now we’re applying that technology to study changes in brain activity in mice whose behavior models human autism and schizophrenia.

Pavel Osten’s lab works on identification and analysis of brain regions, neural circuits, and connectivity pathways that are disrupted in genetic mouse models of autism and schizophrenia. Osten hypothesizes that (1) systematic comparison of multiple genetic mouse models will allow determination of overlaps in pathology—neural circuit endophenotypes—responsible for the manifestation of neuropsychiatric disorders and (2) neural circuit-based classification of autism and schizophrenia will provide key circuit targets for detailed mechanistic studies and therapeutic development. Osten and colleagues have developed the first systematic approach to the study of neural circuits in mouse models of psychiatric diseases, based on a pipeline of anatomical and functional methods for analysis of mouse brain circuits. An important part of this pipeline is high-throughput microscopy for whole-mouse brain imaging, called serial two-photon (STP) tomography. This year, they used this method to describe the first whole-brain activation map representing social behavior in normal mice. They are currently focusing on using this approach to study brain activation changes in two mouse models of autism: the 16p11.2 df/+ mouse model, which shows an increased propensity to seizures and hyperactivity, and the CNTNAP2 knockout mouse model, which shows abnormal social behavior.

    Portrait of a Neuroscience Powerhouse

    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...


    One experiment: A beautiful brain, neuron by neuron

    One experiment: A beautiful brain, neuron by neuron

    November 22, 2017

    What you see here is not a pointillist masterpiece. It is a rendering of the mouse brain, from above, formed by millions of colored dots. Like the famous canvases painted by post-Impressionist Georges Seurat, the triumph of this image is in the relation of the dots themselves. Each colored dot is an inhibitory neuron, and...


    New leadership roles in BRAIN Initiative and International Brain Lab reflect CSHL’s excellence in neuroscience

    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...


    First cell-type census of mouse brains: surprises about structure, male-female differences

    First cell-type census of mouse brains: surprises about structure, male-female differences

    October 5, 2017

    A multiyear project in the Brain Initiative, qBrain is already revealing the brain as never before Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have mobilized advanced imaging and computational methods to comprehensively map—“count”—the total populations of specific types of cells throughout the mouse brain. In a study published today in...


    Imaging method linking brainwide cell activation & behavior shows what it means for mice to have sex in mind

    Imaging method linking brainwide cell activation & behavior shows what it means for mice to have sex in mind

    January 5, 2015

    Automated method detects activity of neurons during specific behaviors, brain-wide, at cellular resolution Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Most people have seen fMRI scans of the human brain. These use a technology called functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify portions of the brain that are active while a subject is being scanned. Fuzzy, ill-defined areas...


    4 CSHL scientists will contribute to President’s BRAIN Initiative under new NIH grants

    4 CSHL scientists will contribute to President’s BRAIN Initiative under new NIH grants

    September 30, 2014

    Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Four scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) will perform research in President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative under two new CSHL grants announced in Washington today. The CSHL grants are among more than 100 issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), totaling $46 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year. They...


    CSHL team introduces automated imaging to greatly speed whole-brain mapping efforts

    CSHL team introduces automated imaging to greatly speed whole-brain mapping efforts

    January 12, 2012

    Cold Spring Harbor, NY — A new technology developed by neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) transforms the way highly detailed anatomical images can be made of whole brains.  Until now, means of obtaining such images—used in cutting-edge projects to map the mammalian brain—have been painstakingly slow and available only to a handful of...


Kim, Yongsoo and Yang, Guangyu Robert and Pradhan, Kith and Venkataraju, Kannan Umadevi and Bota, Mihail and García del Molino, Luis Carlos and Fitzgerald, Greg and Ram, Keerthi and He, Miao and Levine, Jesse Maurica and Mitra, Partha and Huang, Z. Josh and Wang, Xiao-Jing and Osten, Pavel (2017) Brain-wide Maps Reveal Stereotyped Cell-Type-Based Cortical Architecture and Subcortical Sexual Dimorphism. Cell, 171(2) pp. 456-469.e22.

Renier, Nicolas and Adams, Eliza L and Kirst, Christoph and Wu, Zhuhao and Azevedo, Ricardo and Kohl, Johannes and Autry, Anita E and Kadiri, Lolahon and Umadevi Venkataraju, Kannan and Zhou, Yu and Wang, Victoria X and Tang, Cheuk Y and Olsen, Olav and Dulac, Catherine and Osten, Pavel and Tessier-Lavigne, Marc (2016) Mapping of Brain Activity by Automated Volume Analysis of Immediate Early Genes. Cell, 165(7) pp. 1789-1802.

Kim, Yongsoo and Venkataraju, Kannan Umadevi and Pradhan, Kith and Mende, Carolin and Taranda, Julian and Turaga, Srinivas C and Arganda-Carreras, Ignacio and Ng, Lydia and Hawrylycz, Michael J and Rockland, Kathleen S and Seung, H.  Sebastian and Osten, Pavel (2015) Mapping Social Behavior-Induced Brain Activation at Cellular Resolution in the Mouse. Cell Reports, 10(2) pp. 292-305.

Osten, P. and Margrie, T. W. (2013) Mapping brain circuitry with a light microscope. Nat Methods, 10(6) pp. 515-23.

Ragan, T. and Kadiri, L. R. and Venkataraju, K. U. and Bahlmann, K. and Sutin, J. and Taranda, J. and Arganda-Carreras, I. and Kim, Y. and Seung, H. S. and Osten, P. (2012) Serial two-photon tomography for automated ex vivo mouse brain imaging. Nature Methods, 9(3) pp. 255-258.

Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository