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.
Foundations for the Future: Blueprint for tomorrow
November 13, 2023
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Advancement team provides an overview of the institution’s newly launched seven-acre expansion project.
Cocktails & Chromosomes: The mysterious songs of mice
November 9, 2023
Mysterious but polite! CSHL’s Arkarup Banerjee breaks down the animals’ call-and-response routine in our latest talk at Industry in Huntington, NY.
Zador wins maiden NIH BRAIN CONNECTS grant
October 24, 2023
Zador and collaborators have been awarded over $2 million to fine-tune a new brain mapping technique—one that might help transform the field.
Reactivate, repurpose, and rewire the brain
October 4, 2023
New CSHL research on Rett syndrome could also have implications for autism spectrum disorders, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mitra among first awarded NIH BRAIN CONNECTS grant
September 26, 2023
New National Institutes of Health initiative aims to generate an atlas of brain connections, offering new insights into neurological disorders.
Simón(e) Sun named 2023 HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow
September 19, 2023
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute will provide Sun, a postdoc in the Tollkuhn lab at CSHL, up to $1.5 million over a period of up to eight years.
For the love of fruit flies
September 11, 2023
Fruit flies use their wings to generate “music” to attract mates. Watch the male try to woo potential partners with a little liquid courage.
CSHL is abuzz with fruit fly neuroscience course
July 21, 2023
After nearly 40 years, CSHL remains the spot to learn the latest and hottest trends in fruit fly neuroscience.
This eight-armed octopus-like pore perceives taste
July 14, 2023
CSHL captures never-before-seen images of the human CALHM1 channel, a mysterious cellular passageway that may be connected to Alzheimer’s disease.
Bite into this diet and disease quiz
July 5, 2023
Test your knowledge of how diet and nutrition affect health and disease with this short quiz.
Banerjee awarded Klingenstein-Simons Neuroscience Fellowship
July 1, 2023
The CSHL neuroscientist will receive $300,000 over three years to study singing mice. Their “songs” could help explain how the brain drives speech.
Is today’s AI actually intelligent or just acting?
June 1, 2023
Before it can change the world, AI must learn to walk. To help get it there, Professor Anthony Zador has proposed a new ‘embodied’ Turing test.
President’s essay: Bringing bold visions to life
May 26, 2023
CSHL President & CEO Bruce Stillman sees the Laboratory as a global hub for scientific expertise and a powerful launchpad for early-career scientists.
The evolution of autism research
May 25, 2023
The conversation around autism has evolved over the past two decades. So has CSHL research. This retrospective shows how we’ve helped move the needle.
Siblings with autism share more of dad’s genome, not mom’s
May 22, 2023
CSHL study of more than 6,000 volunteer families overturns a long-held assumption about the genetic origins of autism spectrum disorder.
A bridge to the future of autism research
May 18, 2023
With access to premier technology and expertise, CSHL primes early-career scientists for breakthrough studies of autism spectrum disorder.
Learn about the cool campus artwork at CSHL
May 15, 2023
Different structures and artworks around campus hint at a history of groundbreaking molecular science.
From Her to Here: CSHL talks AI at Cinema Arts Centre
May 11, 2023
June 3: The Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY presents a screening of sci-fi romance Her with a talk on AI by CSHL neuroscientist Anthony Zador.
Lucas Cheadle named HHMI Freeman Hrabowski Scholar
May 9, 2023
Cheadle was selected for his leadership in neuroscience research and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in science.
Jessica Tollkuhn wins $750K MIND Prize
April 25, 2023
The award will support Tollkuhn’s research on the role of sex hormones in brain development, behavior, and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Danger or pleasure? How we learn to tell the difference
April 5, 2023
CSHL neuroscientists discover that certain neurons in the brain’s central amygdala are key to helping us learn about threats and rewards.
Isabella Rossellini shares the stage with CSHL
March 28, 2023
Watch as the famed Italian actress chats with neuroscientist Helen Hou about Charles Darwin, women in STEM, stage fright, and much more.
Shrinking tumors with electricity
March 8, 2023
Step inside the lab of CSHL Associate Professor Jeremy C. Borniger, where he and his team are rewiring the nervous system to combat cancer cells.
The shocking new research making cancer nervous
March 8, 2023
Imagine an electronic device that can eliminate tumors. In our exclusive interview, Jeremy Borniger offers an inside look at this exciting new field.
Tour a CSHL lab with film icon Isabella Rossellini
March 3, 2023
This weekend, the worlds of art and science are one at CSHL as Rossellini presents her new play, Darwin’s Smile. Get your sneak peek here.
Follow your nose: Tracking the brain’s smell circuits
February 27, 2023
Take this 8-bit trip along the brain’s olfactory circuits to see what happens up there when you smell something.
What drives mom to pick up the kids?
February 9, 2023
The relationship between a mother and child is special. This video shows how moms’ brains are wired to reward motherly care.
The science of supermoms
January 10, 2023
Moms know best, but how do they learn it? A new study offers insights into the mental reward system that nurtures maternal instinct.
Communication breakdown in the brain
January 3, 2023
Inside the research to get neurons back in a healthy conversation with one another.
CSHL breaks ground on new Neuroscience Research Complex
December 20, 2022
New York Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado announced a $30 million investment to help fund the new construction project.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Foundations for the Future
December 15, 2022
CSHL continues to lead in biomedical sciences by fostering a collaborative, innovative, and high-risk, high-reward research community.
Darwin’s Smile explores the cross-section of art and science
December 2, 2022
Isabella Rossellini’s new one-woman show unpacks the origins of emotions, a place where the art of acting and the science of evolution come together.
Welcome to Biology + Beyond
November 14, 2022
CSHL President and CEO Bruce Stillman introduces a special issue of Nautilus magazine now online, featuring the Lab’s latest groundbreaking research
A new look at brain function and psychiatric disorders
November 2, 2022
CSHL scientists’ new 3D models of NMDA brain receptor variants could lead to better treatments for schizophrenia, stroke, depression, and Alzheimer’s.
Mapping the path from smell to perception
October 27, 2022
Smell remains the most mysterious of our five senses, but CSHL neuroscientists are now closer than ever to understanding it.
Got junk food on the brain? These cells may be to blame
October 20, 2022
CSHL scientists discovered a group of neurons in mouse brains that drive overeating. The findings could help develop better obesity treatments.
Lucas Cheadle named a 2022 NIH Director’s New Innovator
October 4, 2022
Cheadle is CSHL’s first recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. It supports his new work on inflammation and autism spectrum disorders.
Sniffing out the brain’s smelling power
September 29, 2022
CSHL neuroscientists have discovered neurons in the brain, called tufted cells, are more powerful in recognizing odors than historically thought.
The unexpected cells helping to shape young brains
September 28, 2022
CSHL scientists discover cells called OPCs help shape developing brains by eliminating unnecessary connections.
Benjamin Cowley joins CSHL neuroscience faculty
September 27, 2022
The Cowley group creates computer models to study how the brain processes information gathered by the senses.
Cancer has a lot of nerve
August 22, 2022
Tumors recruit the nervous system to help them spread. Scientists are looking for ways to stop it.
The genetic landscape of autism
August 16, 2022
CSHL Professor Michael Wigler discusses 20 years of research to paint a complete picture of the genetic causes of autism.
After 100 years of research, autism remains a puzzle
August 4, 2022
One geneticist is determined to piece together the causes of autism.
Mapping brain disorder therapeutics at work
July 29, 2022
Dive into the 3D atomic structure of the NMDA receptor, important in several brain disorders, and see how it interacts with drugs that inhibit it.
LIVE At the Lab: NeuroAI: Learning from the brain and AI
July 6, 2022
A recorded webinar featuring CSHL Professor Anthony Zador on how lessons from the brain can help build better artificial intelligence programs.
CSHL welcomes neuroscientist Helen Hou
July 1, 2022
The Hou Lab will explore how the brain controls movement and behavior, including how it makes facial expressions and conveys emotion.
Unlocking mom’s brain
June 20, 2022
Maternal care offers a window on our social behaviors.
June 15, 2022
CSHL Professor Anthony Zador has developed mapping and barcoding technologies that identify brain cell connections.
Mapping out new routes to treat brain disorders
June 10, 2022
CSHL scientists explore new angles to improve brain disorder therapies with 3D maps of the NMDA receptor, a key player in Alzheimer's and epilepsy.
Building better AI with the power of neuroscience
June 8, 2022
Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts at CSHL are creating better AI by deciphering brain circuits.
Simón(e) Sun named a 2022 Leading Edge Fellow
June 2, 2022
CSHL postdoc Simón(e) Sun was selected as a 2022 Leading Edge Fellow for her work on the protein estrogen receptor beta and its role in the nervous system.
CSHL neuroscientist named a Searle Scholar
May 23, 2022
Assistant Professor Arkarup Banerjee receives a $300,000 award to study brain circuits involved in vocalization.
Picky proteins: A new angle for brain disorder therapeutics
May 20, 2022
Researchers have designed an antibody that may help treat brain disorders. See how it prevents neurons from malfunctioning.
How hormones define brain sex differences
May 4, 2022
Researchers have mapped the genes estrogen uses to establish male and female neural circuits during brain development in mice.
Neuroscientist Gabrielle Pouchelon joins CSHL faculty
March 25, 2022
She studies the genetic and environmental factors that steer brain development.
Mom’s protective behaviors run deep
March 24, 2022
Neuroscientists found an ancient part of the mouse brain may coordinate maternal protective behaviors.
Uncovering how immune cells nurture brain connections
March 7, 2022
Microglia cells nurture connections during brain development, which contrasts to the cells’ previously understood role in pruning connections.
AI is helping scientists explain our brain
February 28, 2022
Neuroscientists are turning to artificial intelligence to help them understand the brain, but what if AI misses the true story?
Brain waves churn differently when paying attention
February 2, 2022
See the shapes and speeds of electrical waves in the brain change in response to attentiveness.
Finding structure in the brain’s static
February 1, 2022
CSHL researchers found that the brain’s state of attentiveness may be encoded in the shapes and speeds of slow electrical waves.
CSHL neuroscientist Lucas Cheadle named Emerging Scholar
January 20, 2022
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine named CSHL Assistant Professor Lucas Cheadle a top “40 and under” scholar.
CSHL and Veranome partner to accelerate brain mapping tech
January 18, 2022
CSHL Professor Anthony Zador and Veranome Biosystems are collaborating to improve brain mapping technology using engineering solutions.
Test your brain
January 4, 2022
How much do scientists know about the brain? Find out with this neuroscience quiz.
Did you hear the one about the swimming worm?
December 28, 2021
CSHL NeuroAI scholars combine artificial intelligence (AI) with neuroscience. One scholar developed an AI program for worm locomotion.
Why AI needs a genome
December 21, 2021
AI could learn and adapt like humans with algorithms that work like genes.
Taking a course at the Banbury Center: Small gatherings at the cutting edge
December 10, 2021
Dr. Greg Lemke has visited Banbury as a meeting participant, organizer, and Course instructor. Read here why CSHL courses at Banbury are unique.
Fine-tuning motivation in the brain
December 9, 2021
Scientists have pinpointed a group of neurons in the brain that can adjust a mouse’s motivational drive to seek out rewards.
Feeling sluggish? Blame a lack of estrogen
November 15, 2021
Estrogen affects how physically active women are. Scientists have found a set of neurons that drive physical activity in mice.
Estrogen: It makes a mouse move
November 11, 2021
Exposure to high levels of estrogen causes female mice to be very active. Scientists figured out a way to mimic that hyperactivity.
The origins of a map: From Banbury to the BICCN
October 25, 2021
With part of the brain now mapped out and published, how did the project authors first come together to plan the project? They met up at Banbury.
Mammalian motivation circuits: Maybe they’re born with it
October 18, 2021
CSHL researchers found that young mice have neurons responsible for processing “positive” or “negative” signals before they experience those cues.
Building on 150 years of neuroanatomy
October 7, 2021
Learn more about how researchers reached a milestone in a years-long effort to catalog the cells of the human, mouse, and monkey brains.
CSHL researcher wins NIH Director’s Pioneer Award
October 5, 2021
CSHL Adjunct Professor Z. Josh Huang was recognized for new cell engineering tools that will have broad applications in biological research.
qBrain: Mapping out brain similarities and differences
August 20, 2021
CSHL researchers developed qBrain, a technique that automates complete brain-wide analyses.
CSHL Professor Hiro Furukawa wins Tsukahara Memorial Award
August 6, 2021
CSHL Professor Hiro Furukawa was awarded the Nakaakira Tsukahara Memorial Award from the Japan Neuroscience Society for his NMDA receptor research.
URP: Summer camp for undergrads
July 29, 2021
The Undergraduate Research Program brings college students from around the world to CSHL for a summer of research and fun.
CSHL’s Lucas Cheadle receives Rita Allen Award
July 26, 2021
CSHL Assistant Professor Lucas Cheadle received the Rita Allen Scholar Award from the Rita Allen Foundation.
Using “guilt by association” to classify cells
July 14, 2021
Using a new computational statistics tool, CSHL researchers classify cells to understand how an organism functions.
CSHL neuroscientist awarded Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship
June 10, 2021
Assistant Professor Lucas Cheadle was awarded the Klingenstein-Simons Neuroscience Fellowship for his microglia research.
Envisagenics and Biogen partner for RNA splicing research
June 9, 2021
CSHL spin-out company Envisagenics teams up with Biogen to advance research in RNA-based therapeutics for central nervous system diseases.
CSHL neuroscientist Lucas Cheadle named McKnight Scholar
June 4, 2021
Assistant Professor Lucas Cheadle has been named a 2021 McKnight Scholar for his work on microglia.
COVID-19 can’t stop collaboration
May 18, 2021
The Banbury Center is the Laboratory’s biology think tank. During the pandemic, it convened virtually and published policy papers.
Diagramming the brain with colorful connections
May 10, 2021
CSHL scientists developed a new tool that identifies brain cell types and traces their connections.
Reversing a genetic cause of poor stress responses in mice
April 7, 2021
CSHL researchers discovered how a gene prevents mice from coping with stressful situations. They found several ways to reverse its effects.
Increasing access to digital mental health treatments
March 10, 2021
Banbury Center meeting participants published a white paper on policies and practices for digital mental health treatments.
The doctor will sniff you now
March 1, 2021
Dogs can sniff out many diseases, likely including COVID-19. CSHL scientists are developing an AI-based “Deep Nose” to mimic that diagnostic sniff.
CSHL endorses ALBA Declaration on Equity and Inclusion
January 12, 2021
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is endorsing the ALBA Declaration on Equity and Inclusion to promote equality in the field of neuroscience.
NIH BRAIN Initiative invests $9.7 million in CSHL scientists
December 29, 2020
CSHL scientists received grants to broaden our knowledge of the human brain and how to treat neurological disorders.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Science is hope
December 21, 2020
The Laboratory is a leading research center for genetics, cancer, plant biology, quantitative biology, and neuroscience.
Mice with too many chandelier cells lack depth perception
December 8, 2020
Chandelier cells should decrease in number as animals develop. Mice with too many cells lack depth perception.
Problems with depth perception caused by too many cells
December 7, 2020
Chandelier cells should decrease in number as animals develop. If too many remain, brain systems may not work properly.
Generous CSHL neighbor endows graduate student fellowship
November 30, 2020
Dr. Mukund Padmanabhan has donated a $1 million endowment for a fellowship in computational neuroscience at the CSHL School of Biological Sciences.
Partha Mitra: AI and brain circuits
November 30, 2020
Mitra answers audience questions about how understanding brain connections can bring medical and technological breakthroughs.
How to figure out what you don’t know
November 30, 2020
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Assistant Professor Tatiana Engel discusses how a model like Ptolemy’s seems to explain the world and yet is wrong.
LIVE at the Lab with Partha Mitra: AI and brain circuits
November 27, 2020
CSHL Professor Partha Mitra presents some challenges for neuroscientists and how artificial intelligence (AI) helps overcome them.
Patricia Churchland: Social Conscience
November 24, 2020
Patricia Churchland, founder of the field of neurophilosophy, discusses research on the origins of human morality and social bonding.
LIVE At the Lab with Patricia Churchland: Social Conscience
November 24, 2020
Scientist and philosopher Patricia Churchland discusses the evolutionary basis of morality and social bonding in humans.
Assistant Professor Cheadle named Next Generation Leader
November 19, 2020
CSHL Assistant Professor Lucas Cheadle has been named a Next Generation Leader by the Allen Institute for Brain Science.
Bo Li and Richard Sever present at “Life Science Across the Globe”
November 18, 2020
Professor Bo Li and Assistant Director of CSHL Press Richard Sever gave talks as part of the “Life Science Across the Globe” series.
Singing mice will teach us about our own conversations
November 9, 2020
Assistant Professor Arkarup Banerjee joins the neuroscience faculty, focusing on how the mind processes information and produces behaviors.
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.
During a conversation, our brain must interpret what we hear and control our vocal response. How does the brain transform these auditory sensations into action? My laboratory uses singing mice as a model system to investigate the neural circuits in the brain that underlie vocal communication in mammals.
Patients with cancer frequently experience debilitating symptoms that can impair quality of life and reduce odds of survival. These include drastic changes in appetite, sleep/wake cycles, cognitive function, and pain, among others. Our lab aims to uncover mechanistic interactions between the brain and cancer that drive these phenomena. Reciprocally, we investigate how manipulation of specific brain circuits influences cancer processes in the body.
The trillions of connections between brain cells enable complex thought and behavior. These connections are wired with great precision through both genetics and in response to an organism’s experiences. Our lab seeks to understand how experiences engage specialized immune cells called microglia to shape the connectivity and function of the brain. We are further interested in how impairments in these processes can contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
How do we identify and describe the step-by-step computations of the brain? The Cowley group identifies data-driven models of neural responses and behavior by coupling data collection with model training during closed-loop experiments. We condense these models into compact, interpretable forms—allowing us to describe the complicated computations of the brain in a clear and concise way.
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.
The brain-body interaction is a two-sided coin: The brain can control movement of the body to fulfill behaviors, and behavior itself can affect brain function. We study how the brain orchestrates motor and physiological control in natural and innate behaviors, focusing on facial expression.
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.
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.
Perception and comprehension of the outside world are rooted in our neocortex. How do neurons specialize during development to form complex and very specific circuits to integrating sensory-motor information in adults? My group is interested in the interplay between environmental cues and molecular programs in the assembly of neural circuits.
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.
My lab studies how estrogen and testosterone regulate gene expression in the brain. The receptors for these steroid hormones directly bind DNA to turn genes on or off. We have found that sex differences in gene expression are a dynamic readout of hormone actions across the lifespan. We aim to understand how these hormone-regulated genes contribute to sex-variable biology, behavior, and disease risk.
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.