CSHL neuroscientists focus on understanding how neural connections in the brain translate into behavior. Their research provides insights into the circuitry underlying complex cognitive processes such as decision-making and attention, as well as developing tools to map circuit disruptions associated with neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, autism, schizophrenia and depression.
Neuroscience research at CSHL is centered on three broad themes: sensory processing, cognition, and mental disorders. Sensory processing research explores how sensory experiences, like sound, smell, and sight, are integrated with decision-making. The cognition group uses the tools of modern neuroscience (genetic, molecular, physiology and imaging) to study the neural circuitry that underlies attention, memory, and decision-making. Researchers also study cognitive disorders, defining the genetic basis of diseases like autism and schizophrenia and identifying the neural circuits that are disrupted in these disorders. In addition, there is an effort to develop new anatomical methods to improve our understanding of brain circuits, connectivity, and function.
Much of the work is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary. Many neuroscientists apply physics, math, and engineering principles to the study of cognition, including research funded by the Swartz Foundation. The Stanley Center for Cognitive Genomics integrates genetics and neuroscience to form a dual-strategy aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and other cognitive disorders.
How does the brain encode stimuli from the outside world to give rise to perceptions? What does a smell look like in the brain? The focus of my group is to understand how neural circuits compute sensory-motor transformations across different contexts, senses, and brain states to generate meaningful behaviors.
Animals are faced with many decisions. They must integrate information from a variety of sources – sensory inputs like smell and sound as well as memories and innate impulses – to arrive at a single behavioral output. My laboratory investigates the neural circuits that underlie decision-making.
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 nervous system transmits information by passing chemical signals from one nerve cell to the others. This signal transmission relies on a variety of proteins to receive and transmit the chemical signals. My group studies the structure and function of neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels that regulate fundamental neuronal activities.
Studies the development and organization of neural circuits in the mouse cerebral cortex. His team uses an integrated approach to identify neuronal cell types and discover how they interact to process information and guide behavior, focusing on the motor cortex that controls forelimb movement. His studies of inhibitory interneurons, such as chandelier cells, have implications for understanding schizophrenia and autism.
My lab studies the neurobiological principles underlying cognition and decision-making. Using state-of-the-art technologies, we interrogate neural circuits in rodents as they perform a task. We validate our findings with analogous tasks in humans. We hope to define the neural circuits underlying decisions that will inform the development of new therapies for psychiatric diseases.
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.
My group studies the neural circuits underlying cognitive function and dysfunction as they relate to anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and autism. We use sophisticated technologies to manipulate specific neural circuits in the rodent brain to determine their role in behavior. We are interested in changes in synaptic strength that may underlie mental disorders.
My group focuses on human genetics and genomic medicine, with an emphasis on diseases with severe neuropsychiatric manifestations. We collect large family pedigrees and use whole-genome sequencing to define mutations that correlate with the syndromes. We then undertake detailed functional characterization of these mutations to discover fundamental new biology.
A theoretical physicist by training, my research is centered around intelligent machines. I do both theoretical and experimental work. The theoretical work is focussed on analyzing distributed/networked algorithms in the context of control theory and machine learning, using tools from statistical physics. My lab is involved in brain-wide mesoscale circuit mapping in the Mouse as well as in the Marmoset. An organizing idea behind my research is that there may be common underlying mathematical principles that constrain evolved biological systems and human-engineered systems.
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.
When confronted with another individual, social animals use multiple sensory inputs smells, sounds, sights, tastes, touches to choose an appropriate behavioral response. My group studies how specific brain circuits support these natural communication behaviors and how disruptions in these circuits can lead to inappropriate use of social information, as in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
I am interested in how transient events during development program neurons to take on a specific identity and function. More specifically, I am studying how estrogen and testosterone generate sex differences in the brain and behavior.
Normal cell function relies on coordinated communication between all the different parts of the cell. These communication signals control what a cell does, what shape it takes, and how it interacts with other cells. I study these signaling networks to understand how they guard against cancer and neurological disorders.
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.