Tatiana Engel

Tatiana Engel

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, 2007

engel@cshl.edu | 516-367-6902

Faculty Profile

My lab investigates how perception and cognition arise from changes in neural activity. We develop and apply computational methods to discover dynamic patterns in large-scale neural activity recordings. We then create mathematical models to explain how these activity changes emerge from signaling between neurons, ultimately driving behavior.

The brain’s activity is in constant motion: it ebbs and flows in big waves when we are in a deep slumber, turns into small ripples when we reawaken, and flows in orchestrated streams when we perceive, decide and remember. These complex dynamics are driven by intricate networks of microscopic interactions between hundreds thousands neurons and thus are only vaguely glimpsed in spike-trains of single neurons. Fortunately, recent advances in recording techniques enable us to monitor the activity of large neural populations in behaving animals, offering the opportunity to investigate how dynamic variations of collective neural-activity states translate into behavior. To gain insights from these large-scale recordings, we develop and apply computational methods for discovering collective neural dynamics from sparse, high-dimensional spike-train data. We also develop models and theory to explain how collective neural dynamics support specific network computations and how these dynamics are constrained by biophysical properties of neural circuits. In these endeavors, we employ and extend tools and ideas from diverse fields, including statistical mechanics, machine learning, dynamical systems theory, and information theory. Our work benefits from close collaborations with experimental neuroscience laboratories that are collecting neurophysiological data in animals engaged in sophisticated tasks, such as attention, decision making and learning.

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Selected Publications

Top-down coordination of local cortical state during selective attention

30 Dec 2020 | Neuron
van Kempen, J, Gieselmann, M, Boyd, M, Steinmetz, N, Moore, T, Engel, T, Thiele, A

Moving beyond generalization to accurate interpretation of flexible models

26 Oct 2020 | Nature Machine Intelligence | 2(11):674-683
Genkin, Mikhail, Engel, Tatiana

Estimation of autocorrelation timescales with Approximate Bayesian Computations

12 Aug 2020 | bioRxiv
Zeraati, Roxana, Engel, T, Levina, Anna

Top-down coordination of local cortical state during selective attention

26 Mar 2020 | biorxiv
van Kempen, Jochem, Gieselmann, M, Boyd, M, Steinmetz, Nicholas, Moore, Tirin, Engel, Tatiana, Thiele, A

Beyond generalization: Enhancing accurate interpretation of flexible models

17 Oct 2019 | bioRxiv
Genkin, Mikhail, Engel, Tatiana

All Publications

Choice selective inhibition drives stability and competition in decision circuits

10 Jan 2023 | Nature Communications | 14(1):147
Roach, James, Churchland, Anne, Engel, Tatiana

Topology-dependent coalescence controls scaling exponents in finite networks

11 Nov 2022
Zeraati, Roxana, Buendía, Victor, Engel, Tatiana, Levina, Anna

Recent Advances at the Interface of Neuroscience and Artificial Neural Networks

9 Nov 2022 | The Journal of Neuroscience | 42(45):8514-8523
Cohen, Yarden, Engel, Tatiana, Langdon, Christopher, Lindsay, Grace, Ott, Torben, Peters, Megan, Shine, James, Breton-Provencher, Vincent, Ramaswamy, Srikanth

Spatial and temporal correlations in neural networks with structured connectivity

16 Jul 2022
Shi, Yan-Liang, Zeraati, Roxana, Levina, Anna, Engel, Tatiana

A flexible Bayesian framework for unbiased estimation of timescales

1 Mar 2022 | Nature Computational Science | 2(3):193-204
Zeraati, R, Engel, T, Levina, A

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