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.
BARseq builds a better brain map
October 17, 2019
Created by CSHL neuroscientists, BARseq is capable of mapping connections within a brain at single-neuron resolution while tracing their gene expression.
New brain research could change how concussions are treated
October 13, 2019
Blood vessel damage seems to be more widespread than nerve damage in patients with traumatic brain injuries.
Adrian Krainer wins Zülch Prize for lifesaving SMA Treatment
October 8, 2019
Professor Adrian Krainer is awarded the K-J. Zülch Prize for the development and testing of a first-of-its-kind treatment for spinal muscular atrophy.
Mice, like humans, fidget when deep in thought
September 24, 2019
Mice seemed to fidget while making decisions, prompting neuroscientists to think more about the connection between movement and cognition.
Are smart robots a threat?
August 23, 2019
In a Q&A, Neuroscientist Anthony Zador explains how neuroscience can inform machine learning, and why he’s not worried about a robot apocalypse.
Understanding the animal brain could help robots wash your dishes
August 21, 2019
The field of machine learning still has a lot it can glean from neuroscience, especially in how evolution shapes an animal brain.
New brain map could improve AI algorithms for machine vision
August 20, 2019
A revised view of the primate visual system may serve as a future reference for understanding how vision works in humans.
How a lab and its model animals changed science
August 13, 2019
The natural history of science at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory through the lens of animal research.
Creature feature quiz
July 31, 2019
Animals have been the muses behind major scientific breakthroughs for ages. See how much you know about the living organisms sharing the Earth with us.
Of mice and model organisms
July 31, 2019
An in-depth look at how veterinarians at CSHL help take care of the various organisms that help researchers answer fundamental biological questions.
There’s more to smell than meets the nose
July 22, 2019
Neuroscience researchers work to figure out our brains process smells, including what features are essential to identifying and separating odors.
Quantifying how the brain smells
July 22, 2019
Neuroscience researchers at CSHL are trying to figure out how the brain processes smells and what features of odors are important in that process.
Interview with a neuroscientist
May 31, 2019
CSHL Professor Bo Li’s lab studies the biology behind mental disorders. Learn more about how Li’s work is changing the way we think about mental health.
Banbury meeting addresses neurotechnology concerns
March 13, 2019
A white paper written after an important Banbury Center meeting discusses the lack of oversight in direct-to-consumer neurotechnologies.
New cell subtypes classified in mouse brain
March 12, 2019
To map a brain, an intuitive system for classifying neuron types is necessary. Now, a promising approach reveals new cell subtypes in the mouse brain.
Chandelier neuron requires ‘Velcro-like’ molecule to form connections
March 4, 2019
How do brain cells network? Researchers have discovered an essential ingredient that facilitates one type of neuron’s many neighborly connections.
Detailed new primate brain atlas could lead to disease insights
March 1, 2019
An international effort has mapped the marmoset brain at an unprecedented level of detail, which brings us closer to understanding the human brain.
How does math help us understand the brain?
January 31, 2019
An exploration of how computational neuroscientist Tatiana Engel uses math to understand how the brain makes decisions.
CSHL Scientific Advisory Council member wins NAS honor
January 25, 2019
Dr. Eve Marder of the CSHL Scientific Advisory Council wins the National Academy of Sciences Award in the Neurosciences.
Targeting ‘hidden pocket’ for treatment of stroke and seizure
January 18, 2019
Researchers have identified a hidden molecular “pocket” in a special neuron receptor, which could lead to better treatments for stroke and seizures.
Austin’s Purpose donates $10k to neuroscience research
January 18, 2019
Epilepsy research-supporting organization Austin’s Purpose makes a donation to continue key neuroscience research in Professor Hiro Furukawa’s lab.
The year of CRISPR
December 26, 2018
A look at the various labs across CSHL that utilize CRISPR in their research, and the groundbreaking discoveries they help uncover.
How the brain hears and fears
December 5, 2018
Researchers are studying how the brain reacts to sounds that it associates with fear, and how easy it is for the brain to learn and unlearn.
From many mice, unexpected genius
October 31, 2018
Researchers find that some individual mice are smarter than their fellow rodents, which can provide insights into decision-making.
What’s that smell? Neuroscientists are figuring it out
October 2, 2018
Neuroscientists Florin Albeanu and Alexei Koulakov win the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award for their project on the olfactory system.
Computational neuroscientist wins BRAIN grant
September 27, 2018
Assistant Professor Tatiana Engel earns grant to build tools that will help build better models of the brain
Path to cancer in the brain set by protein CHD5
September 14, 2018
Researchers find that protein keeps neural stem cells from activating too soon and hindering brain development
The miracle of brain development
August 16, 2018
In a series of 8 stunning images, CSHL scientists enable us to share the miracle of a brain as it self-assembles
One experiment: Building a brain
August 16, 2018
A genetic program precisely guides development of a part of the brain
Dr. Zador wins Transformative Investigator award
August 8, 2018
CSHL professor Anthony Zador wins Gill Symposium prize for his innovative work on MAPseq
CSHL spinoff wins investment prize
June 29, 2018
CSHL spinoff company MapNeuro Inc., which uses tech developed in Zador lab, wins 2018 Seed Capital Prize from Alexandria LaunchLabs
Postdoc wins Indian National Science Academy prize
June 25, 2018
Dhananjay Huilgol, a postdoc in Professor Joshua Huang’s lab, wins one of India’s highest honors for young investigators
A better way to trace neuronal pathways
June 6, 2018
Researchers have improved a key method used to map circuits in the brain
Scientists show how brain circuit generates anxiety
May 29, 2018
Researchers have identified a circuit in the brain that drives anxiety
Nature’s masterpiece: the brain
May 11, 2018
A message from President and CEO Dr. Bruce Stillman from the Spring 2018 Harbor Transcript on the innovative research happening at CSHL
Portrait of a Neuroscience Powerhouse
April 27, 2018
A relatively small neuroscience group at CSHL is having an outsized impact on a dynamic and highly competitive field
Revolutionary brain-mapping technique provides new blueprint for cortical connections
March 28, 2018
Researchers used MAPseq, a revolutionary brain mapping method, to make a discovery that will force neuroscientists to rethink how areas of the cortex
CSHL’s Bo Li receives BRAIN Initiative funding
December 28, 2017
CSHL Professor Bo Li and two collaborators at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have been awarded a new grant under the BRAIN Initiative
Dr. Anne Churchland honored with Marshall Award for promoting women in science
December 11, 2017
Associate Professor Anne Churchland was honored with The Louise Hanson Marshall Special Recognition Award.
One experiment: A beautiful brain, neuron by neuron
November 22, 2017
Associate Professor Pavel Osten and colleagues discovered using their qBrain method is discerned by probing hidden relations among the dots.
Additional brain power
November 21, 2017
For neuroscientists, the brain presents an almost endless number of mysteries to be solved.
Fantastic journey: how newborn neurons find their proper place in the brain
November 2, 2017
Neuroscientists have clarified the mechanism used by newly born neurons in mice to migrate to very specific areas.
For brain cells, you are who you speak to
October 31, 2017
Tracking a person entails searching through their email, phone, and other means of communication to map out their network. To do this for a brain cell
New leadership roles in BRAIN Initiative and International Brain Lab reflect CSHL’s excellence in neuroscience
October 24, 2017
The BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network establishes a Center and a Collaboratory for the Mouse Brain Cell Atlas at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Research revises our knowledge of how the brain learns to fear
October 23, 2017
A team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory led by Professor Bo Li found evidence indicating the central amygdala is key to to aversive learning.
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.
Do neuroscientists need to switch gears to understand how brains make choices?
October 2, 2017
Associate Professor Anne Churchland, co-founder the IBL along with Professor Tony Zador, explains how it could help solve a problem in neuroscience.
Neuron types in the brain are defined by gene activity that shapes their communication patterns
September 21, 2017
Neurons are defined by determining which cells they connect with and how they communicate across synapses
Research reveals “exquisite selectivity” of neuronal wiring in the cerebral cortex
August 21, 2017
Inhibitory chandelier cells receive and transmit information from different ensembles of excitatory cells in their cortical neighborhood.
CSHL’s Kepecs receives BRAIN Initiative grant to develop tools to guide behavioral research
August 1, 2017
Dr. Adam Kepecs receives grant to develop conceptual infrastructure for behavioral neuroscience research
Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons
July 20, 2017
CSHL researchers discover when ERα receptors are deleted in the brains of male mice, they do not exhibit typical "masculine" behaviors during puberty.
Is confidence measurable?
May 16, 2017
Confidence is “not just a feeling,” according to neuroscientist Adam Kepecs. Finding the confidence-calculating circuitry in our brains has huge.
Research suggests a possible role for a storm of ‘jumping genes’ in ALS
March 27, 2017
New research demonstrates that some transposons are no longer effectively inhibited, resulting in a storm of jumping genes, leading to DNA damage.
Can we understand memories at the molecular level?
March 13, 2017
Memories may seem intangible, but many scientists are working to figure out how they are physically stored in the brain. To achieve this, we’ll need.
Dopamine neurons factor ambiguity into predictions that enable us to “win big and win often”
March 9, 2017
Researchers describe how dopamine-releasing neurons weigh the ambiguity of sensory information, indicating that neurons are highly sophisticated.
In mouse model of Rett syndrome, research reveals how adult learning is impaired in females
January 18, 2017
Researchers found that the failure of the Mecp2 gene, which leads to Rett syndrome, has biological consequences later in life.
Austin’s Purpose raises $10,000 for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Neuroscience
January 4, 2017
Austin’s Purpose presented CSHL Hiro Furukawa with a donation to continue NMDA research.
The brain atlas
December 14, 2016
This episode of BasePairs looks at the problems of neuropsychiatric drug discovery, and the method by which they may soon be resolved.
The “secret” science center where openness is everything
October 27, 2016
Lyme disease researcher Steven Schutzer talks about the important meetings held in the Banbury Center.
Was it better or worse than you expected? Your basal ganglia know – so you can act accordingly
September 21, 2016
Researchers have uncovered a neural circuit that processes evaluations and have succeeded in identifying its sources.
Innovative tools will shed clarifying light on inhibitory neurons
September 21, 2016
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory created a set of tools that combine genetic markers and virus particles to target GABA cell types.
Revolutionary method to map the brain at single-neuron resolution is successfully demonstrated
August 19, 2016
MAPseq can trace the long-range projections of large numbers of individual neurons from a specific region to wherever they lead in the brain.
DIY neuroscience opens up a universe of possibilities in Transylvania
June 1, 2016
Do-it-yourself (“DIY”) science evokes images of amateur scientists tinkering with test tubes in garages on the weekends.
Our brain uses statistics to calculate confidence, make decisions
May 4, 2016
The brain produces feelings of confidence that inform decisions the same way statistics pulls patterns out of noisy data.
Alumnus Josh Sanders makes neuroscience research tools open and affordable
May 2, 2016
Josh Sanders developed a series of tools for neuroscience research that filled major needs in the field.
First structural views of the NMDA receptor in action will aid drug development
May 2, 2016
Structural biologists obtained snapshots of the activation of an important type of brain-cell receptor.
Imaging hundreds of neurons using ultrafast lasers hints at how brains make decisions
March 15, 2016
Neuroscientist Matt Kaufman uses brief, ultrafast laser pulses to understand how the brain makes sensory-guided decisions.
If you thought all neuroscientists work with neurons, you’re wrong
February 25, 2016
Neuroscientists talk about the importance of the intersections between theory and experiment, and how it has shaped their work.
A consortium to map the brain is launched
February 2, 2016
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering announced a cross-institutional consortium to map the brain's neural circuits.
First direct evidence for synaptic plasticity in fruit fly brain
December 2, 2015
Researchers have for the first time observed direct evidence of synaptic plasticity in fruit flies while they learn.
CSHL neuroscientist Anthony Zador is named a “Top 100 Global Thinker” of 2015
December 1, 2015
Anthony Zador was selected by the editors of the prestigious journal Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015.
Approach or buzz off: Brain cells in fruit fly hold secret to individual odor preferences
October 6, 2015
Scientists have discovered the point at which incoming sensory information begins to transform into a neural signal that instructs a fly's response.
Scientific inspiration with third-year student Annabel Romero Hernandez
September 1, 2015
Graduate student Annabel Romero Hernandez spent 244 days portraying the world around her on a very small scale.
Surprised? Cholinergic neurons send brain-wide broadcasts enabling us to learn from the unexpected
August 25, 2015
Researchers find dedicated neurons that rapidly informing multiple subregions in the brain of any surprising rewards or punishments.
Revised view of brain circuit reveals how we avoid being overwhelmed by powerful odors
July 1, 2015
Researchers discover neural circuit in the mouse olfactory bulb that shows how our mammalian cousins adjust to intense odors.
Neuroscientists discover how feedback from the cortex helps mammals make fine distinctions about odors
June 4, 2015
Researchers study the feedback loop of the olfactory bulb sends output to and receives feedback from multiple parts of the brain
Thinking about cognition with recent graduate Kristen Delevich
April 8, 2015
Watson School graduate Kristen Delevich studies how different brain regions communicate with one another.
Scientists discover important communication mechanism between two brain areas implicated in schizophrenia
April 7, 2015
Researchers discover an inhibitory connection between certain brain areas that can control the timing of information flow to the prefrontal cortex
Swartz Centers dedication
April 1, 2015
An official recognition of Jerome Swartz for his 25+ years of friendship and generous support of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory neuroscience programs.
When thinking about numbers, people estimate a range rather than a single value
March 30, 2015
Representing numbers as a range of possible values allows people to utilize multiple streams of information, leading to improved decisions
Long Island Ph.D. student wins 2015 Harold M. Weintraub award
March 11, 2015
Ian Peikon is the 4th Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory graduate student to win the Harold M. Weintraub award
Cancer metabolism and country music with first-year student Jackie Giovanniello
March 9, 2015
Student Jackie Giovanniello works to develop better treatment options for patients.
Mind-readers: Scientists crack a piece of the neural code for learning and memory
March 2, 2015
Postmortem brain slices can be “read” to determine how a mouse was trained to behave in response to specific sounds
Making decisions with fourth-year student Kachi Odoemene
February 9, 2015
Student Kachi Odoemene works on studying repression of neuronal activity and contributes to decision-making.
A new brain circuit that controls fear is identified
January 19, 2015
Researchers discover a pathway in that mouse brain that regulates fear memory and behavior
New research on what the nose ‘knows’ reveals an unexpected simplicity
January 11, 2015
In rats, olfactory bulb neurons use simple ‘linear summation’ to make sense of fluctuating odor inputs from the surrounding environment
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, brainwide, at cellular resolution
Neuronal circuits filter out distractions in the brain
December 15, 2014
Scientists identify a neural pathway that controls attention, with implications for psychiatric disorders
New junior faculty join CSHL
November 12, 2014
Interviews with new junior faculty members Jessica Tollkuhn and Je Lee.
Some neurons can multitask, raising questions about the importance of specialization
November 10, 2014
New findings challenge assumptions about how information is encoded in the brain
Mapping the brain with recent graduate Ian Peikon
November 5, 2014
Ian Peikon, inventor of DIATROL, looks to map all the connections between all of the neurons in the entire brain.
In a battle of brains, bigger isn’t always better
October 9, 2014
Scientists are surprised to find that rats and mice perform similarly in cognitive tests.
Gambling with confidence: Are you sure about that?
September 18, 2014
Scientists uncover the neural basis of confidence in the rat brain
CSHL’s Florin Albeanu, Partha Mitra awarded NSF ‘Early Concept’ grants for neuroscience
August 18, 2014
Award supports exploratory research with potential for transformative insights – part of BRAIN Initiative
“When I grow up…”
July 24, 2014
Today, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are working with the community to make sure that kids are exposed to research at a young age.
Neuroscientists explain how mutated X-linked mental retardation protein impairs neuronal function
June 24, 2014
There are new clues about malfunctions in brain cells that contribute to intellectual disability and possibly other developmental brain disorders.
Unprecedented detail of intact neuronal receptor offers blueprint for drug developers
May 29, 2014
NMDA receptor malfunction is implicated in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, schizophrenia, autism, and stroke
Dealing with stress—to cope or to quit?
May 27, 2014
Researchers identify neurons that determine whether an individual will be depressed or resilient
Neurobiologists find chronic stress in early life causes anxiety, aggression in adulthood
March 27, 2014
New research indicates a link between certain kinds of early stress and dysfunction in the neuroendocrine system.
For neurons in the brain, identity can be used to predict location
March 24, 2014
A new mathematical model uses gene expression data to predict where neurons are located throughout the brain
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.
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.