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In the Laboratory for Neural Circuits and Behavior we study the neural basis of sensory processing with a major focus on vision. We are particularly interested in understanding the computational rules used by networks of neurons in the visual cortex to process visual stimuli. To tackle this problem we study neural responses at various scales, from the mesoscopic one of large populations of neurons, to the single-cell level. To access these different scales we use a variety of techniques, such as wide-field fluorescence imaging, two-photon calcium imaging, and electrophysiology.
We are also interested in using perturbative approaches based on optogenetics to change the natural flow of signals among neurons. Optogenetics offers the unique opportunity to target specific cell-types and cortical layers. These perturbations of the network dynamics are done in animals engaged in behavioral tasks, allowing us to directly relate properties of the neural responses to the behavioral state of the animal. This experimental paradigm is ideal not only to study the mechanisms underlying visual perception, but also to understand the neural basis of complex cognitive processes, such as decision making.